The passageway connecting Calles Benigno Malo and Padre Aguirre that has been bricked shut for more than a century, will reopen today, according to city culture and heritage officials.
Officially named Calle Santa Ana, the alley opens onto Parque Calderon, immediately to the north of the Cathedral La Inmaculada, adjacent San Luis Seminary, the ground floor of which is occupied by the Raymipampa Restaurant.
Envisioned for years as an “arts alley” of galleries and outdoor cafes, Santa Ana will reopen as a pedestrian walkway between Malo and Padre Aguirre, with future plans yet to be worked out. Cuenca cultural director Jonathan Kouperman says that full use of the space depends on negotiations with the Cuenca Catholic archdiocese, which owns a small building that partially blocks the alley.
According to Kouperman, studies have determined that the building is not of historic importance and can be legally demolished. “We are in discussions with the church but have not yet reached an agreement to remove the structure,” he said. If and when an agreement is reached and the building is removed, the city will proceed with plans to introduce commercial activity to Santa Ana, he said.
The city has spent about $125,000 since 2014 to tile and re-route utility pipes and cables in the alley.