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Volunteers roll up sleeves, keep dream of a park alive at La Plancha

Government authorities have grown silent on the 'green lung' project, but citizens press forward

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Volunteers clean and plant trees at the abandoned acreage at La Plancha. Photo: Facebook

Merida, Yucatan — Groups of neighbors and members of several civic groups with picks, shovels, rakes, hoes and machetes on Saturday attacked the weeds and garbage at La Plancha.

They also planted trees on the land where for years residents have fought for a city park.

State officials have mysteriously halted progress at the blocks-long parcel behind the old train station. A master plan exists to create a multi-dimensional green space there.

Citizens are rolling up their sleeves to show support for the project, said Roger Gómez Chimal, president of the Railway Museum.

Starting at 9 a.m., the “challenge against garbage and environmental support” included — as is customary in Mayan populations — the planting of a sacred ceiba tree.

With her face flushed by the sun, Alexandra Barrueta, president of operations of the environmental group Chalchi, recalled that as a child she watched the comings and goings of the trains at the station. Now with the passing of the years, she supports the idea of transforming the abandoned acreage into “something like our own mini Central Park.”

“We are here collaborating according to our capabilities. Some collecting plastics, others weeding and drilling for the holes to plant trees,” she told a reporter from Novedades Yucatan, during a pause to drink water.

Felix Rubio Villanueva, president of the Gran Parque La Plancha civic group, commented that they are planting timber and fruit trees, as well as ornamental plants to complement the 115 that they planted in 2013. Today, thanks to the care they have been given, they are leafy trees.

Like Gomez Chimal, he invited the neighbors to “sponsor” some of the trees that are being planted, taking care that they do not lack irrigation.

Other groups represented in the project include Defensa de los Barrios del Centro Histórico de Mérida, Mujeres Asociación Civil, Colectivo 4 de Julio, Strategic Plan of Yucatán and the Railway Museum.

The work will continue today (Sunday).

 “All of us here do it selflessly, because we are all looking to turn this site from a garbage dump to a place that would bring us, peace, tranquility and a great lung for the city, with many trees,” added Félix Rubio.

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