Public works completed and pending
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Sanmiguelenses remember local government administrations partly because of the public works projects they undertake while leaders are in office. There are those who remember the administration that removed the trees from outside of the Ex-Colegio de San Francisco de Sales, or that built the Glorieta el Pípila and landscaped Salida a Celaya, or that built the new city hall, for example.
The current administration, headed by Luz María Núñez Flores, will end in 60 days, and the next, under Mauricio Trejo, will begin October 10. During the three years this local government has been in office work has continued on projects begun by the 2006–2009 administration, such as the Puente Bicentenario, the local slaughterhouse and the widening of the Libramiento Manuel Zavala near Malanquín. New projects were also begun, such as the bandshell (concha acústica), the construction of a cultural center in the former train station and the restoration of the former city hall building, Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez el Nigromante (Bellas Artes) and the building at Mesones 71, which will house the new offices of the Casa de Cultura, among others. Over the past three years, which projects have been completed and which will be handed over to the next administration to finish? Emilio Lara, director of Public Works, talked to Atention about this.
Work done by term’s end
The largest construction project overseen by this administration was the Puente Bicentenario on Calzada de la Estación. The former administration had contracted with the ESOM Company to build the bridge, but financing had not been secured. According to Lara, Mayor Núñez started the process to get funding for the bridge, which was estimated to cost 34 million pesos. During construction, changes had to be made and a traffic circle was added, as well as an arcade covered with stones, which raised the cost to 60 million pesos. Construction started in December 2009 and was finally finished in May 2011.
The new building for the local slaughterhouse, located on the road to Dr. Mora, is another project held over from the 2006–2009 administration. As with the Bicentennial Bridge, plans changed along the way. It was decided the slaughterhouse would serve the region, not just the municipality. According to Lara, the building has been largely finished and equipped and could be operational by the end of September. All that remains are final interior details and completion of access roads. Lara commented that when this administration took office (October 10, 2009) sanitation authorities closed the slaughterhouse facility on Calzada de la Estación because it did not meet regulations, but the government negotiated to keep it operating. The construction of the new building started in 2005 and has thus far cost 55 million pesos. The current slaughterhouse building will be added to the community center of Cuevitas.
The COMUDE (Municipal Sports Commission) facility is also located on the road to Dr. Mora. Lara said that when this administration took office the facility was already nearly completed, and construction continued as originally planned. Work on the accesses and pedestrian area is being completed now, but the facility is essentially ready to open. It will include a multipurpose playing field with retractable bleachers, two courts for contact sports, and two squash courts, all with official measurements. These facilities will benefit the nearby neighborhoods in addition to the universities in the area.
Work begun by the 2009–2012 administration
On January 6, 2012, Mayor Luz María Núñez, in an interview about public works with Atención, said, “We will consolidate the band shell and grandstands at Parque Bicentenario and restore the Casa de los Soles (House of the Suns) on calle Mesones, where we will open the new offices of Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture.) We will start work on a new cultural center at the train station; we already have the permits to launch the project. We will continue the municipal program of sidewalk construction, as well as roads and bridges in rural communities.” Seven months later, most of these projects are nearing completion.
According to Nuñez, the band shell being constructed in the Bicentennial Park will attract more tourism to the city thanks to the quality of the events that can be held there. Lara commented that the first stage, construction of the base and the framework, is done, and by the end of August the second stage will start and will include the construction of grandstands in a first stage and covering the frame of the band shell with concrete. The financial resources for finishing the second stage have been earmarked already, and the work must be finished before year’s end. The project will have to be concluded by the 2012–2015 administration.
During the same interview, Mayor Núñez commented that her administration should be remembered for the restoration of the old city hall building, which is the most important building in Mexico, she said, because it was the site of the first city council of the newly independent Mexico. City council meetings are held there, and the mayor has an office in the building. There are also other offices on the second floor. The first floor will house a museum.
This administration also started the restoration of the house at Mesones 71 that will become the new offices of the Casa de Cultura. The roof, floors, wiring and plumbing were replaced. Lara commented that the original plan of the building has been left mostly intact, although they are building an auditorium with seating for 120. The current offices of Casa de Cultura at el Chorro, said Lara, will be restored to the original plan, as the “most advance hydraulic engineering of the 18th century.” Lara said that the building at el Chorro was used to regulate the pressure of the water coming from the springs that supplied water to the town.
Other important works undertaken by this administration include restoration of Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez el Nigromante and areas of Atotonilco and construction of the communitary center in las Cuevitas, which will open before October 9 this year.
Train station cultural center
In April, the restoration of the former train station began. Mayor Núñez said that it will be used as a museum, and a railway-themed park was planned for the exterior. Eleven million pesos were relegated to the project by FONCA (National Fund for Culture and Arts), five million of which would be used for the park area. However, although the land immediately around the station was registered in the inventory of Kansas City Southern de México, it is owned by an individual, who is asking too high a price for the property. Because the land could not be purchased in time, the municipality lost the five million pesos designated for it. Lara commented that Mayor Núñez is working to get back the five million pesos, which could be applied to equipment for the museum.
Lara said that many smaller beneficial projects have been finished in neighborhoods and communities in San Miguel. He also mentioned that during changes of government administration some projects are left uncompleted or abandoned, and citizens must participate in order to see that they are carried out.