Parque Central / Central Park Update

4d55d780179b1adbc4563c98da8f4dc1I announced the new Central Park to you back in 2014, to be built on the site of the current Bosque de la Ciudad in front of the baseball stadium. Plans, naturally, have changed significantly since then, as you can see on its new website. The developers are excellent marketers, the designs are very modern and world-class, and I know this will be a huge boon to tourism and hopefully to schoolchildren and the general community in Mazatlán.

Construction of the Avenida de la Bahía and the park thus far have been a total destruction of the environment, preceded by the burning of the laguna which murdered thousands of turtles, nesting birds, iguanas and badgers, then by filling in nearly two-thirds of it. The one saving grace is that the new avenue will provide much-needed parking for those nearly 1000 spaces lost when they remodeled the malecón, and it will provide access during the sporting events (marathon, triathlon, etc.) that so often close the Avenida del Mar.

We have reported on concrete mixers and painters cleaning out their trucks into the estuary with zero regard for the environment. Our video on that was shared tens of thousands of times, to no avail. The road is nearly done now, and the estuary is nearly completely filled in with reclaimed land. The builders have a lovely video on their site where they show a biologist relocating some of the animals from the current Bosque de la Ciudad to make room for construction.

It looks like the plan is to completely scrape out the existing lagoon and build small islands that will be accessible by paddle boat to visitors. Our current park is a habitat to so many large migrant birds; I do pray they will continue to visit the new man-made, modern lagoon.

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The new park does look lovely if you don’t think about the flooding that it is most likely to cause. I hope it will be accompanied by civic education around litter and the environment as they’ve said, because otherwise those small islands in the pond are going to become trash heaps. Good news is that designs include water circulation to keep things fresh, and hopefully lots of trash cans and cleaning staff.

I love that the new 5 million liter aquarium, which looks like it will completely replace the old one, will have an exhibit dedicated to Jacques Cousteau, champion of the Sea of Cortés, though no doubt he is turning in his grave to know the environmental destruction leading up to its construction. Greg is excited for the Food Truck Park and the promise it brings.

 

I am excited about the museum as well, designed to look like an oyster, since we are the “Pearl of the Pacific.” It is supposed to contain an IMAX theater and the second floor will have a killer view of the ocean, supposedly, though I think we have so many towers on the malecón that that could be challenging. Best part? The map seems to show it occupying the corner of Insurgentes and Avenida del Mar, where Geronimo’s has stood vacant for how many years. Will be great to get rid of that eyesore!

Plans still include two walkways from the park out to the malecón, which would be hugely welcome to all those who enjoy sports and the outdoors. I’m confident the park will be a huge boon to the city, as long as we can keep it clean and maintained. I remain saddened that “development” has to mean “destruction of nature.”

Fire in the Bosque

DSC_0071EditedHeartbreak! The bird sanctuary behind our house, the estuary in front of the Bosque de la Ciudad (city park), has gone up in flames this afternoon. We have lost dozens of nests, with eggs and hatchlings, of ibis, cranes, herons and storks. All because of human negligence. Bless the volunteer firefighters who came out within fifteen minutes of our call! As I write this, they are still fighting the flames.

The fire started just in front of the construction site to the south of Las Gavias Residencial on Avenida del Mar. We called the fire department, and that is the location where they arrived. The first thing the fire fighters did, even before the firetruck made it in, was to remove some old tires that had caught fire on the edge of the estuary. Once the truck arrived, they got out a hose and quickly used up the truck’s full tank of water. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Fortunately, shortly thereafter a water truck arrived on the City Park side, followed by more firefighters. I was so afraid the fire would blow through the park, killing the animals in their cages, endangering the children. It moved so quickly! Within twenty minutes the entire estuary was in flames, and in our 11th floor apartment the heat from the flames was incredible! We are at the height of dry season, and wherever there is not water out there in the estuary, is no more. Trees, grasses… all torched. I believe the city park is safe, but the firefighters will need to keep the grasses and brush wet.

The poor birds—ibis, cranes, herons, storks—were flying around seeming confused about where to go, their habitat filled with smoke and flames, their babies stranded in the flames.

It is now about an hour after the blaze started, and more fire trucks keep arriving, thank goodness. The fire continues threatening the pond in city park, but in general is heading north towards Avenida Insurgentes.

We’ve lost power… more later…

4:16 pm, it looks like the firefighters have gained control of the blaze. It has stopped moving. It went as far north as the salón de eventos south of Insurgentes, and from the Avenida del Mar side it doesn’t look like it destroyed any of the Bosque itself. Thank goodness for our volunteers!

The whole time it burned, Greg and I kept asking ourselves why the construction workers next door hadn’t called the fire department. They just stood there watching. The fire started very small. We immediately called 911. And, the construction workers had bulldozers, water, all kinds of equipment there; they could have put the fire out when it was still small. Perhaps they were afraid to use the equipment for something they weren’t authorized to do.

Such a sad day for our bird sanctuary. Thank goodness that Mother Nature will regrow it, though the loss of dozens and dozens of hatchlings and eggs is heartbreaking. Let’s use this as reason to FINALLY step up and stop permitting people to build in the estuary!

Final note: In the evening firefighters came with multiple bulldozers, and dug a perimeter/fire line around the burn zone, at least wherever land permitted (bulldozers can’t go in the water…). They did such an admirable job! Please take care of our environment, everyone. Mazatlán used to be one big estuary, full of mangroves, shrimp, and water fowl. In the city now we are down to just a very few. Let’s treasure and keep them!

New Museum of Mazatlán

PROYECTO DE MUSEO DE MAZATLÁN (9) You know how excited I am about the plans for upgrading the Bosque de la Ciudad into Mazatlán Parque Central—I wrote about it back in December. This gorgeous park will serve as an anchor between the historic downtown and the tourist zone, and connect the oceanside promenade/malecón with the estuary/Estero del Camarón. I repost a few of those photos below; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Today I received an update on the Museo de Mazatlán that will be the main feature on the northern side of the gorgeous park. It has been designed by Siete Colores Ideas Interactivas and architect Fernando Romero—who also recently won the bid to design Mexico City’s new airport (he also designed the Soumaya Museum)!

The 20,000 square meter museum will be in the form of a pearl, in recognition of Mazatlán’s nickname as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” I am very supportive, but I will say that to me the design looks more like a UFO/spaceship than a pearl… The building will have two stories and a view to the ocean. It will be green construction, built sustainably. I sure hope that’s true, because we have so very little left of our precious estuary here in town, and that estuary is key to the beauty of Central Park! Don’t get me started on why the city permitted building in front of the Gran Plaza, a project which has already partially filled in Estero del Camarón.

Plans for the museum include interactive multimedia exhibits. The ground floor will be dedicated to the people of southern Sinaloa: the history of our city, customs, traditions and cultural identity. The second floor will focus on the principal trades of Sinaloa, including agriculture, cattle, fishing, and tourism.

First floor features that are most exciting to me include an 18 x 24 meter IMAX screen with laser projection, a shrimp boat simulator, and a virtual street that will transport the visitor to Carnavál de Mazatlán—enabling us to interact with the event, see the gorgeous floats in the parade, dance with the comparsa troupes, wave to the royalty, and otherwise enjoy the annual festivities in simulated reality.

Rounding out the ground floor are 2900 square meters of permanent exhibition space, a round exhibition hall for the major themes of the museum, a travel agency from where tourists can depart on tours of Mazatlán and the surrounding area, a store filled with high quality regional handicrafts, and a bookstore dedicated to our regional heritage.

The second floor will have a terrace with a panoramic view of the Pacific, a restaurant featuring regional delicacies, a regionally-themed fast food outlet, the city’s historical archive, and training rooms for the development of tourism professionals. Miranda Servitje, President of Siete Colores, reports that INAH (Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History) has agreed to support the museum with exhibitions on Mexican archeology and history.

Neto Coppel Kelly, the visionary behind the project, feels Central Park and the Mazatlán Museum will strengthen the identity of Mazatlán and help generate new touristic offerings, thereby contributing to the welfare and economic growth of our city. State Secretary of Tourism, Francisco Córdova, says this is the type of infrastructure project that Mazatlán and Sinaloa need to keep growing and strengthening. Involved in the project, which has been over two years in the planning thus far, are Fideicomiso Unión Mazatlán and the municipal, state and federal governments.

I support this effort in major part because of the ecology of the area. In the seven years we have lived in front of the Bosque, we have seen hotels, party salons, stores and condo complexes claim land from the estero. This is protected land! But, in effect, I’ve seen that it goes unprotected. It is my sincere hope that developing the park area will ensure ecological conservation, rather than ruin, of the estuary.

Click here to see inside designs for the museum, and further information.

City Improvements are Rockin’ It!

Mazatlán has a bumper crop of city renovation and development projects underway, and I have been remiss, posting to VidaMaz’s Facebook page about several of them, but failing to actually upload them here to the blog for you who don’t follow us on social media.

Parque Central/Central Park

The first project is championed by Pueblo Bonito’s Neto Coppel. He announced his plans to build a new state-of-the-art museum several months ago, and we shared those press releases. The new museum will be built on the site of the current Teodoro Mariscal baseball stadium, (if) and when a new stadium is built up north in the marina. The overall project, called Parque Central or Central Park, is planned for the current site of the Bosque de la Ciudad, City Park, just behind the malecón between the Aquarium and Avenida Insurgentes.

I love how the estuaries are actually expanded rather than contracted in the plans, and I also adore that we will have another frontage road to Avenida del Mar—permitting access during street closures such as Carnavál parades and marathon. The plans include pedestrian and bicycle access to the park from the malecón, which will be terrific for locals and tourists. The plans, I’m sure you’ll agree, look marvelous! This will be a huge addition to our gorgeous city! Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

Carpa Olivera/Outdoor Pool in Olas Altas

The second project I want to be sure you know about is already under construction. It is the renovation of the historic outdoor pool in Olas Altas. For the past several weeks the area has had a plywood wall blocking access, and work is proceeding to upgrade and update the pool. Below are the architects’ renderings of that project, as well as a couple of photos of the site from the Mayor’s office.

Again, I’m sure you’ll agree this project is a huge improvement. It will be wonderful to have a public swimming pool with such an incredible view. This is a project that will be a terrific asset to families in our community, and it will showcase Mazatlán on the world stage—seaside pools gain a lot of attention.

Palm Trees on the Malecón

I’ve posted photos of workers cutting the cement of the malecón in order to plant the palm trees, which it seems were gifted to the city by Stone Island. I then posted photos of them installing lighting. There has been a lot of pushback by residents who don’t like the new palm trees. Some complain they provide no shade, others that they ruin the open view of the ocean. Personally, I absolutely love them! I believe they add a sophistication and cared-for look to our beloved oceanside promenade, which I believe is the longest in the world. As I write workers are installing lighting in front of our condo building, but the first stretch of lighting, from Valentino’s to Las Gavias, has been completed. Photos from the Tourism Office are below.

New Athletic Facilities in the Bosque/City Park

By now you know we have new soccer fields and basketball courts in the grassy center of the boulevard along city park. Just recently they have finished two new, gorgeous tennis courts, and I am told the city will be offering tennis lessons to the public. Thus far they go very under-used, so get out there and play!

Between the new courts and the Kilometer Zero art installation are new weight and exercise machines that have been installed. These are obviously built for outdoor use, but my guess is they won’t last long in this salty air unless they are scrupulously maintained. Get to them and work out while you can! At 6:30 am yesterday when I went by, a young man, a trainer, was there instructing people how to use it.

Zona Dorada/Golden Zone Renovations

Finally, I reported on our social media several months ago when the Mayor announced rehabilitation of the Golden Zone. Improvements include new sidewalks, which are gorgeous, by the way! They installed the new undulating wave/resin and concrete sidewalk in front of the Hotel Playa a week or two ago. I failed to get a photo of it when I saw it, and now it has been all torn up as city workers install new cable for lighting. Poor planning, sadly. The Golden Zone should be finished by February, they say, and in addition to curbs, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, we pray they’ll be working on drainage. Flooding in that area is horrible when it rains, primarily due to the fact that most of it is reclaimed land.

Some residents complain that all these monies could better be spent on drainage, sewage, road repair, etc., but nearly every day on the Mayor’s page on Facebook he shares with us yet another paving or water project in one of the city’s many colonias. He does, indeed, seem to be doing what he promised our municipality when he ran for office! I, for one, am very excited.

LOVING our city!

 

New Skate Park?

We have the terrific skateboard park on the malecón in Playa Norte. We all love watching the kids enjoy themselves. Maybe some of you even enjoy it, too.

We’ve heard that the work being done right now in front of the Bosque de la Ciudad, city park, in the median there of the avenue, is another skate park. I can’t find where we read that now in my searches online, but we did take a few photos today.

Hopefully this will be one more terrific thing for kids to do in our gorgeous city. If that’s what you’re here wondering about, you can check out an earlier post, Visiting Mazatlán with Kids.

If you know more about this project, would you please let us know in the Comments below? We know quite a few teenagers eager and hopeful!