Among the public works projects scheduled for 2009 by Cuenca’s city government are a reburfishment of Parque de la Madre and traffic improvements in the historic district.
The work in Parque de la Madre, including construction of a school athletic center and a cafeteria, could begin as early as February, according to city coordinator Jaime Siguenza. Other improvements include landscaping and resurfacing of the running track. The park is heavily used by both school children and the public and is best known as the training grounds for Ecuador’s only Olympic gold medalist, Jefferson Perez. The city has budget $1.8 million for the work.
The larger project of improving traffic flow in the historic district is already underway with the implimentation of the new pay-by-card system on municipal buses. The public transit project also includes the addition of monitor sensors at 98 intersection to help control the flow of buses. The city has also announced that it will begin installing 52 traffic lights in the district early in 2009.
Other projects in the works for 2009 include improvements to the San Francisco Square market, completion of the flower market at Calles Sucre and Malo, and continuing upgrades to the Rio Tomebamba Barranco district including repairs to the Escalinatas at Calle Miguel.
Cuenca mayor Marcelo Cabrera, in a Dec. 31 interview with El Mercurio, defended the work being done by administration in the historic district, saying the process requires the involvement of many parties, including Paris-based UNESCO. He noted that Cuenca was ranked 49 by National Geographic among the world's top historic cities. “We must be doing something right,” he said. Cuenca was the only Ecuadorian city included in the magazine’s ranking of 109 sites.
Photo caption: Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera; credit: El Mercurio