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Updated Parque La Plancha plans include lots of cement in place of trees

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Parque La Plancha was envisioned as a green space, but plans have gotten more ambitious. Photo: Courtesy

An artificial lake, amphitheater, and Ferris wheel is now planned for Parque La Plancha, an abandoned rail yard that residents for years have tried to preserve as a green space.

The La Plancha project gets less parklike under renderings presented in September 2022. Photo: Courtesy

The idea was to preserve the Centro’s last large parcel of land by planting trees for a naturalistic “green lung.” Briefly, it had seemed that the idea was gaining ground.

Due to the large extensions that the areas covered by concrete will have, which were privileged over green areas, “it is false” that the project presented for the construction of Parque La Plancha in Mérida is going to become “the green lung” of the city, said Félix Rubio Villanueva.

The civic group Gran Parque La Plancha was excluded from this week’s presentation, although its members have advocated for a park since 2013. The group, comprising 15 institutions, organizations and associations including UNAM, the Board of Trustees of the Historic Center and Colleges of Architects of Yucatan, called for the planting of up to 8,000 trees in the area.

But even some of the current plan’s more modest proposals —  such as six- or seven-meter-wide walkways stretching two kilometers — will undermine any sense of the park returning to nature.

But plans have gotten ambitious, and the park will apparently have plenty of cement, like the rest of the city. The main lake will have water features and its own malecon, and nearby an amphitheater to accommodate 10,000 people.

A 10,000-seat amphitheater envisioned at La Plancha. Photo: Courtesy

Plans also call for 11 new two-story homes along Calle 46. They are for the Artículo 123 residents displaced by the project.

An artificial lake is part of the latest plan for La Plancha’s park. Photo: Courtesy

The new $1.3-billion-peso park plan is chock-full of extras:

  • eight playgrounds
  • gastronomic market
  • artificial lake with a malecón
  • dog park
  • skating rink
  • outdoor gym
  • bike path
  • The Museum of Light, already under construction
  • upgrades at the rail museum
  • amphitheater for 10,000 people
  • Ie-Tram station

The presentation provoked mixed feelings. They noted that the design took up space for planting trees that would have been home to birds and other wildlife. 

The railcar museum will be upgraded if new plans at La Plancha see the light of day. Photo: Courtesy

The most controversial feature was the artificial lake due to the city’s karstic soil and inevitable infiltration into the water table. The idea was reminiscent of earlier proposals to dig a tunnel so the Tren Maya could reach the site.

More popular was the upgraded rail museum, which would be relocated under a shed roof with better facilities for workshops and activities.

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