A vacant lot in Altabrisa should be dedicated to parkland, a neighborhood group insists. Country Towers is in the background. Photo: Google

Mérida, Yucatán — The largest empty plot of land in the city’s north should become a park, its neighbors insist.

Residents in the Altabrisa area requested two PAN political candidates to follow though on promises to build a park on the abandoned site, if elected.

They fear that otherwise, the land will be developed, contributing to the city’s overabundance of buildings. Open space across the street was developed into a supermarket in recent years. The Alta Brisa mall is to its south east, and Country Towers looms over it from the south west.

The lot is 20,000 square meters large and located in one of the most desirable areas in Mérida.

Martín García González, a spokesman for the group, called on mayoral candidate Renán Barrera Concha and gubernatorial Mauricio Vila Dosal to join their “Lungs of Mérida” initiative.

The property is an entire city block, roughly five acres, at Calle 19 and Calle 20 in the modern neighborhood.

As the neighborhood was growing between 2010 and 2012, PRI Mayor Angélica Araujo Lara’s administration attempted to develop the land that from the beginning had been contemplated as a park. But when Vila was mayor, he agreed with neighbors that a green space was the better option for the area.

“Vila came at that time, and supported (the land) not to be exchanged (for development) and today they have with the PAN and with Renán Barrera the opportunity to fulfill the promise that they made at that time to regularize and make a park, because it is an area that is destined for that,” García González said.

The residents have been disappointed in the past, when land swaps between the city and property owners have traded away open space. They don’t even know if it’s too late to rescue the city block.

“We do not know if this land, which is the largest in the north of Mérida, has already been exchanged,” he explained.

The candidates have not offered a public reply to the group’s demands, which are reminiscent of the grass-roots battle to prevent the La Plancha parcel in the Centro from becoming built up. That effort was eventually successful.

With information from Reporteros Hoy