Mérida, Yucatán — The city’s challenge to renovate 89 historic properties in the center of the city has passed its halfway point, with 47 of 89 façades patched up and painted.
Progress is visible on Calles 60 and 62, between Santa Lucia park and the Plaza Grande, where masons who specialize in urban rescue have left their mark.
The façade rescue program has been around for over 20 years, but today its progress has been supercharged by one key change in policy. Until now, the property owners contributed the materials and the city provided the labor. Now, the city council has budgeted 10 million pesos to cover all the costs, which has proven to have greased the wheels.
Property owners need only sign a promise to keep their restored buildings in good condition.
Some high-profile projects are under way. Along the Plaza Grande, workers are fixing up the Casa del Alguacil, which is cater-corner from the Olimpo Cultural Center and houses the Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón. Also, down the arcade, the shopping center called Pasaje Picheta is being refreshed. The Picheta Passage was a public prison in Mérida for more than 130 years.
Since November, the program has reached 13 buildings on Calle 59 between 60 and 62; 10 on the north side and three on the south; on 62 between 59 and 61, three on the west side and four on the east side; 62 between 61 and 63, one on the west side (the building occupied by the Janitzio ice cream parlor); two buildings on 63 between 60 and 62, opposite the Plaza Grande; one on 61 between 60 and 62; the Hotel del Parque and the restaurant La Bella Época on 60 between 57 and 59; one on 55 and 62; and nine on 55 between 60 and 62, seven on the south side and two on the north. On Calle 60 workers restored six buildings between 55 and 57, two on the west side and four on the east; five on 57 between 60 and 62, three on the north side; and two along the east side of Calle 62 between 55 and 57.
There are 10 project in process: On Calle 63 between 60 and 62, properties 502, 502-A, 502-B and 502-C; Calle 60 at 57, building 491 and 491-B (Hotel Misión Merida); Calle 57 between 60 and 62, 505-B, and at 62 between 55 and 57, no. 468.
Since launching 22 years ago, over 1,000 historic properties in the Centro have been restored under the Programa de Rescate de Fachadas del Ayuntamiento de Mérida.