The Catholic church reports that substantial progress has been made restoring the Seminario San Luis following a devastating 2012 fire. The seminary is located adjacent to the Cathedral, fronting Calles Simon Bolivar and Benigno Malo.
Much of the structure fronting Simon Bolivar has been restored and work began in February on the Calle Malo portion. A large tarp covers the second and third floors of the building above the popular Raymipampa Restaurant.
Marcelo Cevallos, church curia secretary, says that work has been slowed for lack of funding, although money from federal and city sources has helped move rebuilding forward.
Work on interior courtyards of the seminary is almost complete, according to Cevallos. Offices around the courtyards, which are not visible to the public, house a Catholic radio station and pastoral support agencies. Ceilings and roofs of the interior structures have been replaced.
An immediate concern for the church, in addition to continuing the seminary restoration, is raising $800,000 to repair the domes and roof of the cathedral. The cathedral ceiling has sustained substantial water intrusion damage over the years due to leaks around the domes, and architects say repairs are critical to avoid more damage.
The church and the city are sponsoring a raffle and 10k run to raise money for the repairs. The church is also soliciting donations from Cuencanos who live in the United States and Europe.
San Francisco Square reports turned over to the mayor-elect
The administration of out-going Cuenca mayor Paúl Granda has turned over budgets and project documents related to the remodeling of San Francisco Plaza to staff of Mayor-elect Marcelo Cabrera.
The $8 million project involves not only renovation of the plaza but restoration for public use of three buildings adjacent to the plaza and construction of a municipal parkng facility. Funding for the project has been approved and secured.
Cabrero, who said he had problems with the new plaza design during the political campaign, says that the project will continue but that he make changes after he reviews project documents. One issue that will receive particular scrutiny, Cabrera said, was the plan to put many of the current merchants in the center of the square in underground facilities. The move is not popular with merchants, who primarily sell Chinese-made goods.
Efforts to restore San Francisco Plaza, once the heart of Cuenca’s cultural activity, began in 1956 but have not advanced due to political disagreements.
Photo caption: An August 2012 fire, apparently caused by falling fireworks, caused extensive damage to the seminary next to the cathedral.