Location, location, location is everything in real estate, we are always told. When it comes to Guadalajara’s green spaces, the same may also be true.
This week, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro outlined a comprehensive 620-million-peso ($US32.5 million) rehabilitation project for the Parque de la Solidaridad on the outskirts of Guadalajara in Tonala.
Funded in stages over four years, the project aspires to transform the neglected 110-hectare green space into Guadalajara’s premier “Central Park.”
The Parque de la Solidaridad opened in February 1991 as a showcase for a major summit of Ibero-American leaders that took place in July of that year. Heads of state, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro, were given a tour of the new park, which many hoped would provide a boost to one of the most economically challenged zones of the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
The park, however, didn’t catch on. As money flowed freely into other green spaces located in more fashionable parts of Guadalajara – Parque Metropolitano, Agua Azul, Parque Alcalde, Colomos – Parque de la Solidaridad deteriorated rapidly, becoming a poster child for governmental neglect.
The new plan for the park includes a sports area, a family zone, plus various reforestation and rehabilitation projects for native aquatic life. Other additions include a cultural center, as well as the construction of a mall to attract visitors. Around 45 million pesos will go toward renovating and expanding the adjacent water treatment plant.
There is even discussion about changing the park’s name, depending on how the locals feel.
One of the first tasks is to terminate all of the mistletoe, which visitors often mistake for vines, according to Alfaro. The species happens to be invasive and responsible for harming the park’s trees.
Planners such as Patricia Martínez, head of Guadalajara’s Strategic Coordination of Territory Management, believe the park has the potential to attract foreign visitors, as well as locals, and stimulate the local economy.
“We recognize that the location (of Parque de la Solidaridad) is a central point for social and urban integration,” Martínez said. “With this investment, we hope to reduce the (economic) differences that have existed for years in the eastern part of the city.”