Editorial: City prefers demolition over preservation

This old house on Calle 47 is too far gone, and must be demolished, according to city officials. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

Casona en la calle 65

Demolerán la casona de la calle 65 en el Centro Histórico de Mérida, buscan evitar accidentes que pongan en riesgo a los meridanos Mauricio Vila AyuntaMÉRIDA INAH | Timelapse: Juan Carlos Gómez | Lee aquí la info –> https://lajornadamaya.mx/2017-06-28/Ignoran-oficios-del-INAH-para-rescate-de-predios

Posted by La Jornada Maya on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The following editorial by Felipe Escalante Tió appeared, in Spanish, in La Jornada Maya.

Last week, the pages of La Jornada Maya offered readers a report by Paul Antoine Matos on the recovery of the properties of the Historic Center and Paseo de Montejo. It said, with optimism, that in Merida, the number of houses at risk had decreased to six and that the conservation of these historic buildings is progressing driven by tourism and the interest of some businessmen.

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Now, the City Council has shown its intention to demolish these houses, with the usual argument that they constitute a risk to the population, because with the rains — let alone a hurricane — could collapse. And again we opt for the solution that ends up creating patches in Merida, instead of recovering the beauty of the city.

The problem of abandoned houses is nothing new. The idea that they are a part of the historical and architectural heritage of the city and its inhabitants is much more recent. Trying to reconcile the interest of Merida with the conservation of its buildings and the interest of the authorities in turn seems to be something much more complex.

What is going to be done with the six houses is the answer to which city we want. A restoration supported by an advantage by the Meridians is the most difficult solution and the one that requires of more economic resources and conjunction of talents. Demolition can have dramatic effects that the city will never recover. Perhaps the most significant case is the residence of Sixto Garcia, where Porfirio Diaz stayed during his visit to the state in 1906, and which today is a parking lot at Calles 63 and 64. Will that be the future of the six estates?

Not all space recovery projects should include owners. In this case, it should have been the responsibility of the subdivision of cultural heritage, under the direction of urban development of the city of Mérida, to evaluate the situation.

A few years ago it was intended to make Mérida a World Heritage Site, and it was Campeche that actually responded and got this designation instead. The Yucatecan capital has had almost 20 years with a façade recovery program, but the houses are still at risk.

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It is time that the Meridanos and their leaders apply their minds in search of solutions that make this city a beautiful place for all.

felipe@lajornadamaya.mx

The original article is posted here in its entirety.

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