After several delays, including one last week, Cuenca’s Parque de la Madre reopens this weekend with three days of festivities.
Popular Quito singer Juan Fernando Velesco presents a concert Friday night that will be followed by fireworks. A Saturday open house features food, crafts, music and art while Sunday will offer a variety of games and sporting events. Saturday’s schedule includes a brief inauguration ceremony.
The $6 million, 18-month restoration project has expanded the park form 29,000 to 36,000 meters, with the addition of property to the southeast that was originally a vehicle repair facility.
The new park includes underground parking for 200 vehicles, an asphalt running track, activity and concert grounds, a children’s playground, exercise areas, bathrooms and dressing rooms for sporting activities, and sports facilities.
Saturday events will include games for the handicapped, dance therapy, military canine demonstrations and a variety of family games. Friday night’s events are scheduled to begin at 6:00pm.
A new planetarium is still under construction on the south side of the park, expected to be completed in September.
Drought threatens southern sierra, Cuenca gets cool
Below average rainfall in Loja and Azuay provinces has prompted farmers to request the government issue an emergcy order in order to provide assistance.
Areas of Loja province appear to be the hardest hit, with some farmers reporting they have received no measurable rainfall in more than a month. According to National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology officials, rainfall in March and April has been 50% below the seasonal average.
“It has been an exceptionally dry year so far for Cuenca and we are hoping this changes soon,” said a spokesman for the weather bureau. "March and April are traditionally our wettest months but rainfall has been minimal this year."
Cuenca recorded the lowest temperature of the year on Wednesday morning as the mercury dropped to 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). Under sunny skies, the afternoon temperature rebounded to 24 (76 Fahrenheit), one of the warmest readings of the year.
An emergency declaration by the government would allow diversion of irrigation water to drier areas, according to a government spokesman.