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.”

Adios Estuary :'(

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Sunrise over city park, with the new Avenida de la Bahía in the foreground

For eons Mazatlán has been the land of the estuary—brackish water, half fresh and half salt, that rises and falls with the tides. There used to be estuaries all over Mazatlán, from south to north, brimming with shrimp and mangroves, home to turtles and a myriad species of birds, but sadly not many remain. Most have been filled in completely, like those in the Golden Zone, which leads to the frequent flooding of that area in rainy season. Now we are losing Estero del Camarón, shown on the map below (as Laguna del Cameron), which runs south from Rafael Buelna over Insurgentes to the Aquarium at Av de los Deportes, thanks to the building of Avenida de la Bahía.

estero map

Avenida de la Bahía has been in the city’s plans for over a decade; it’s nothing new. What is new is that most everyone believed the road would be built in the “set aside” behind the existing buildings along Avenida del Mar. There was plenty of room beside the estuary for two lanes of traffic plus parking on both sides. Thus, when it was announced that the long-planned road would be built, there wasn’t too much ruckus.

People who live on Avenida del Mar are grateful to have a second egress, as this major city artery is so frequently closed due to races and other events. We actually, naïvely, were pleased to think that those who had “stolen” land from the estuary—hotels and salones de eventos that had “pushed out” into the estuary—would now have to give up that appropriated land in order for the road to be built.

Alas, no such luck. Despite the fact that city park is supposedly a wild bird sanctuary —”protected land,” we’ve always been told— construction of the new Avenida de la Bahía doesn’t even start till way beyond the land that we were told was set aside for the new road. Contractors have spent six weeks now filling in OVER HALF of the estuary facing the Bosque de la Ciudad/City Park! They have been working 24 hours a day seven days a week, dredging the estuary of plant life, then dumping trucks full of huge boulders into the water, dozens of truckloads per hour. They add dirt over the boulders, and cement on top of that. First they built two lanes, which we thought was bad enough; then four. Now they are adding diagonal parking on the west side and possibly more on the east. It just keeps getting wider and wider! The road is now wider than a freeway. After removing all the parking from Avenida del Mar, of course more parking is needed. But does the estuary have to pay the price? Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The way they have built the new avenue actually leaves water trapped in between it and the Avenida del Mar—water that will attract mosquitoes and disease. I can only imagine they’ve left that area so that property owners (primarily the Tellería family, I believe) can build locales or storefronts facing the planned Parque Central.

The entire project is the most blatant disregard of our environment that I have witnessed. I was told the project was stopped, put in amparo, and according to the Noroeste, that is when they started working at night instead of during the day. A few days later they extended from night work to 24-7 work, and about ten days ago they put up signs that say they are taking care of the environment. I find the irony heartbreaking.

They are now within a couple hundred yards of Insurgentes. To my knowledge they have yet to buy any of the houses they will have to knock down to connect the new avenue with Insurgentes and continue north to Rafael Buelna. Eminent domain?

That housing area already floods in rainy season, as does the area in front of the Gran Plaza. I imagine now that they’ve reclaimed over half of the estuary, the area around the stadium, city park, Insurgentes and the Gran Plaza will flood much more dangerously; where is the water to go at high tide? They have built the road up high, to keep it from flooding. But we sure haven’t seen them build any exit for flood waters. Hopefully I’m just missing something.

Mazatlán’s allure for tourists and residents is its natural beauty, its marine life and seafood. Destruction of the environment like this is shortsighted. I was excited about Central Park and the new Mazatlán Museum, but if losing our estuary is the price we are paying for them, it is way too high.

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!