CUENCA DIGESTFireworks restrictions and bad weather keep many away from Corpus Christi; Mayor says tranvia work will roll soon
Almost everyone agreed. This year’s Corpus Christi celebration at Parque Calderon, with reduced fire power, was not the same as it used to be.
The ban on rockets and paper hot air balloons known as globos, was imposed by the fire department as a result of a fire in August that destroyed the roof of the San Luis Seminary next to the cathedral. According to an investigation, the fire was probably ignited when a balloon fell on the seminary.
“The crowds are less this year,” said Luz Rodriguez, who sells sweets along Calle Luis Cordero. “People like the fireworks and the noise and it wasn’t the same this year.” Rodriguez said that the weather also played a role in keeping the crowds down. Rain fell during the first two nights of the celebration.
This year’s event, which ends tonight, was also notable for the large number of police and firemen observing activities. The fire department inspected each of the bamboo fireworks towers, or castles, before they were ignited to make sure they met restrictions of the amount and type of fireworks attached. Police and fire department trucks, with lights flashing, were also prominent around the park.
Cuenca expat Martin Shore said he missed the explosiveness of earlier Corpus Chritis. “I loved the bombs bursting in air and the smell of gun powder. There were still plenty of fireworks with the castles. The thrill is still there, just at a reduced level.”
Corpus Christi event sponsors say plan to lobby government officials to have the fireworks restrictions removed for the 2014 celebration.
Light rail construction is a ‘go,’ mayor says
Cuenca Mayor Paul Granda says there will be no more contract extensions for the construction of Cuenca’s tranvia light rail system, and that all legal documents will be in place within two weeks.
The project has been delayed because contracts with the government of France and various contractors from France and Spain awaited final approval.
Although construction has already begun on some parts of the project, orders for rolling stock and construction of the track and stations cannot begin until the contracts are signed.
Several members of the Cuenca cantonal council have complained that they have not received enough information about the project. “All we have seen are Power Point presentations. I want to see in-depth information from the contractors,” said councilman Monserrath Tello. Tello was joined by seven other council members in calling for a special council meeting to address their questions.
Jaime Pesántez, director of the Cuenca transportation office, said that more information is forthcoming shortly and that he will address all the questions that council members have.
The council approved the project last year and Pesántez says that construction will begin in ernest in August or September. The project budget is $234 million.
Av. Solano roadwork to begin this month
Reconstruction work on Av. Fray Vicente Solano between 12 de Abril and Tres Puentes, near Av. Primero de Mayo, will begin in late June.
According to the city public works office, the work involves re-routing utility lines and pipes as well as reconstruction work on the road surface. In addition, sidewalks and bike paths will be rebuilt and added and improved lighting will be installed.
Public works director Mauricio Ochoa says that the cobblestone redondel at the Remigio Crespo intersection will be replaced during the project. The city has received numerous complaints from dirvers, he said, because of the rough surface at the intersection.
The Solano Project will cost $4.5 million, the public works office says.
Photo captions: Corpus Christi fireworks and an artist's conception of Cuenca's light rail.