“Thank God, they’ve finally started.”
Rosa Chuchuca’s sentiment was shared Tuesday morning with two other women who sold clothing and household goods at San Francisco Plaza and who were relocated three weeks ago to Calle Padre Aguirre. The three stood at the northeast corner of the plaza, watching workmen stack old paving stones.
“We have to see it with our own eyes to believe it since nobody ever told us anything,” Chuchuca said, describing the frustration that many plaza merchants have felt as construction delays, first over design issues and most recently over a contract dispute, pushed back the project start date.”
“At least now we have some idea of when we’ll be able to move back. They say it will be in a year but I think it will be a little longer,” she added.
Work on the rehabilitation of the plaza began in earnest Friday, after the new construction contract was finally signed.
According to Pablo Barzallo, director of the Cuenca Historical and Patrimonial Areas Commission, it isn’t just the merchants who are relieved. “The problems have put a strain on all of us, not just the people who work here but the people in the government who had hoped the project would have been completed by now.”
Barzallo feels confident that the project will be completed within the 10 months stipulated in the contract. “We are in the process of breaking the schedule into parts so we can provide better information to the merchants as well as to the transportation office, since they are rerouting traffic.”
President of the San Francisco Plaza Merchants Association says he is also feeling “more relaxed” seeing the project underway. “We’re still waiting for schedule details from the municipality but they have been more responsive lately, since the contract problems have been settled.”