Although two large multi-use parks and San Francisco Plaza were inaugurated in the last months of former mayor Marcelo Cabrera’s administration, none of them have the legal standing to operate. Contracts remain unsigned and, in several cases, operational policies have not been formulated. As a result, concerts and games scheduled months ago have been canceled, retail venues remain closed and the merchants of San Francisco Plaza do not have signed leases.
A concert scheduled for March 16 in Ictocruz Park to celebrate the park’s grand opening was canceled because the city did not have security plans in place. Equipment for the park’s “extreme” swing and canopy zip lines had to be removed since they were not operational and posed a safety threat to visitors.
The cafeteria, offices, and other attractions at Ictocruz and Tarqui-Guzho parks remain closed.
According to Nelson Dias, new spokesman for city parks, the parks remain open. “People are free to visit. We have guards, and the restrooms are open but the management plan is yet to be implemented and many services are not functioning.” He adds that permits have not been issued to allow the services to begin.
At San Francisco Plaza, merchants are still waiting for their leases and permits. Pedro de la Torre, spokesman for the plaza merchants association, said that since vendors occupied the booths on January 29, the city has not designated a rent collector. Vendors fear that the accumulated amount now exceeds $1,000 in some cases. “It’s money that we cannot afford to pay in one lump sum,” he says.
Merchant requests to the city for tarpaulins to protect merchandise from the sun and rain have gone unanswered, de la Torre says. “Vendors have had to take matters into their own hands to protect their products.”
Among other complaints at the plaza is the lack of a maintenance plan for the public toilets.