Work began last week on the ambitious Parque de La Libertad project in the Bellavista neighborhood on the northern edge of Cuenca’s historic district. The park will encompass almost one and a half hectares (about three and a half acres) and provide the largest public space in the district.
With a budget of $7 million, the project is also the largest financial investment in new parks and public green areas, which the city intends to increase.
The park will occupy the site of the old Cuenca jail, as well as adjacent property purchased by the city, and will be built in two phases. When it’s completed, the park will provide not only green areas, projected at 80% of the park, but public meeting facilities, a theater, craft shops, a restaurant, and a six-story observation tower.
Paúl Ortiz, Cuenca coordinator for planning and construction, says the park is part of the city’s “green belt” which will consist of parks and public green areas. “Compared to other cities our size, according to UNESCO, we have a deficit of green space and public spaces. Parque de la Libertad is a step to remedy this,” he said.
Ortiz said that another park with a large green area will begin construction in 2017, Parque de La Luz, be built on Yanacauri hill, also known as Tú Eres Pedro, will cover five hectares and has a budget of $3.5 million.
Parque de la Libertad is being built by the Cuenca Consortio de Parque de la Libertad, a group of local contractors. The contract calls for work on phase one to be completed in 365 days.