A wide range of academics and community activists have formed a coalition to shape the future of La Plancha, a park residents hope will emerge in the city center.
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY), the Asociación Civil Gran Parque La Plancha, the Plan Estratégico de Yucatán (PEY), the Colectivo 4 de Julio, the Asociación de Parques de México, the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav), and others have signed a pact to work with state officials on a master plan, Diario de Yucatán reported today.
The coalition represents local and national groups, some grass roots and some institutional.
Roberto Rodríguez Asaf, the state secretary general, said that citizen participation is a path to good decision-making. And many decisions must be made before converting a rail yard into the city’s largest urban park.
Neighborhood groups have advocated a park that not only creates green space, but engages residents, similar to New York City’s dynamic Central Park. Bike paths, performance spaces and programs to encourage physical fitness are among the elements neighbors have stressed for years.
East of the Centro, La Plancha will be a 20-acre rectangle running south-to-north between calles 55 and 43, and west to east at calles 48 and 46.
The rail yard will need to be relocated. The state will need to buy land for a new switchyard at the entrance of Uman. Then, officials would build a spur line to Hunucmá, to service the new brewery and other industries in that area. The space is still locked up by a concession-holder who has not agreed to vacate.
Dr. Alicia Ziccardi Contigiani, director of the university curriculum at UNAM, said that the work of what is now called “La Plancha, Mérida 2016” will adopt criteria for “environmental sustainability, heritage conservation, social and collaborative development, self-financing, as well as priority actions for the use of the property.”
The body will recommend strategies and actions for the short, medium and long term for collaborative creation and management of an urban park. Reports are due in December.