The clock is ticking on the San Francisco Square renovation project, says Paul Barzallo, director of the Cuenca Historical & Heritage Areas Committee. “If the work cannot be completed by November 2017, the funding will be withdrawn. We have to get it right this time,” he says.
The $6.8 million credit line for the project was negotiated by the city with Banco del Estado. Barzallo says the funding agreement includes an end date by which all work must be completed and all funds disbursed. He adds the money is not subject to federal government controls.
University of Cuenca architects delivered a project description two weeks ago that incorporated some of the changes demanded by the vendors who currently occupy the center of the square. Under contract terms, the architects must deliver visuals of the new design by June 1 and detailed construction plans within 45 days.
The latest design allocates about 30% of the plaza to vendors who today occupy 60% of the square. Sales kiosks will be portable but will be moved only on special occasions, not every night as had been proposed in previous plans. Vendor areas will be divided between the Otavalans, who sell mostly clothing, and sellers of other items, mostly housewares, shoes and clothing. The new plans also include planted areas, a fountain, and a memorial to the revolutionary war “Heroes of Verdeloma.”
Barzallo said that construction should begin in November, once the bidding and procurement processes are complete.