The University of Cuenca consultants responsible for redesigning San Francsico Plaza have completed their work, turning finished plans over to the city. Director of the Cuenca Historical and Heritage Committee Paul Barzallo says that bidding specifications will be published Friday with work expected to begin in November.
Renovation of the plaza has been controversial since it was first proposed in 1956, and several attempts have failed. This time, according to Barzallo, the project will finally go forward. “The problem has always been working out solutions for the vendors who work in San Francisco,” he said. “In the past, their concerns were often ignored and we have had many meetings with them to make sure this plan meets their needs.”
The major obstacle in recent versions of new designs, Barzallo says, has been the location and portability of the vendors’ sales kiosks. Currently, metal sales buildings occupy more than half of the plaza, which the city said was unacceptable in the new design. Vendors objected to the city’s plan to make the new sales kiosks portable so they could be removed from the plaza at night. In negotiations with the vendors association, the city agreed to make the kiosks permanent but relocated them to the sides of the plaza and guaranteed that all current vendors would be accommodated.
The new plaza will be open with a large fountain in the center and a revolutionary war memorial at one end. Following complaints by the public about a plan submitted in June, vegetation was added on the perimeter.