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Glorieta de los Héroes project may come to public vote

By Antonio de Jesús Aguado

In 2010, the statues of the heroes of the Mexican independence movement Aldama, Allende, La Corregidora and Hidalgo, along with a statue of St. Michael the Archangel, were removed from the “Glorieta de los Héroes” and were replaced with a column topped by a likeness of Allende´s head, a project that caused controversy among sanmiguelenses and was removed in December 2010. On February 2011 a call for proposals for the traffic circle was announced by the municipality and 19 were received. The jury chose the project “The Guardians” created by architects Leticia Vieira Machuca, Víctor Jesús Arratia and Leticia Sánchez Vieira from Mexico City. This year, Mayor Luz María Nuñez Flores will propose to the city council that the public be consulted so the citizens can decide on the best project to be built in the former Glorieta de los Héroes.

In January 2006 the Glorieta de los Héroes was inaugurated by former mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal García. According to Mayor Núñez, the design sparked some controversy at the time because of the disproportionate scale of the sculptures. For that reason, in 2010 the local government decided to remove the sculptures, which were replaced by an obelisk topped by a likeness of Allende’s head. “All the members of the city council agreed, but when we put it in place we realized that the proportions were not appropriate, and it was rejected by the populace, and even by me,” said Núñez. So, the obelisk was also taken down and later moved to the Bicentennial Bridge overpass on the Libramiento Manuel Zavala.

In a press conference in February, the PAN city councilors commented that when the obelisk was retired students from the Universidad de León San Miguel de Allende campus presented a project for the traffic circle that was good, but when mayor Núñez received the financial resources for the construction it was rejected. San Miguel´s mayor told Atención, “The project presented by the students was beautiful, and the city councilors liked it, but they were using the same Allende´s head that architects and town planners had said was not appropriate for the dimensions of the traffic circle because it looked so small.” For that reason, they called for proposals and the project “Los Guardianes” was elected by a jury of experts from INAH (National Institute for Anthropology and History), UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and other institutions.

According to Mayor Núñez, the financial resources for the construction of a monument in the traffic circle will come from the Secretariat of Tourism. When she announced to the city councilors that she had the resources, they did not agree to the construction of “The Guardians” because they did not feel an identification with “the three stones,” the monolithic sculptures that would comprise the piece. For that reason, in the next plenary session Núñez will ask the city councilors to approve a public consultation, so the citizens can decide and vote for the best project, said the mayor. “I do not want confrontations, let´s have a public consultation. We will exhibit the projects from the call for proposals that received the most votes so the population can decide. But the city councilors must permit me to build the winning project.” If the public consultation is approved, it could be held between March and April.

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