Public Works Projects Still Sit on Ice
By Jesús Aguado
In this electoral year, 2015, the local government is getting ready to hand over the administration of those who will occupy the public posts after October 10. Along the same lines, the next administration will be the one that will continue the unconcluded public works and possibly projects that are currently in limbo.
Several public works have not been completed in the city: the acoustic shell (Foro San Carlos), the slaughterhouse, and the Cuevitas community center, as well as the opening of a cultural center at the train station. More projects could be added to the previous ones, like converting the old city hall building into an art center, opening the airfield, and even the eco-touristic park on the Obraje stream.
In December last year, Atención requested an interview with Rodrigo Maldonado, director of Public Works of the current administration, to learn more about the unconcluded works. The interview was not granted. For that reason, we asked Mayor Mauricio Trejo about the status of the works and projects proposed in 2014.
Adaptation of the old city hall building
This work would have a cost of 40 million pesos. The former city hall building was to be adapted to shelter an amphitheater to hold concerts. It would also include space for projecting experimental films, and it would include adequate space for attracting the world’s best art exhibitions. The rooftop, according with the project, was going to be turned into a sculpture garden with a café or a restaurant bar “with the best view of the city.”
The Obraje Stream
This project, which includes the conversion of the arroyo del Obraje into an eco-touristic park that would connect the neighborhoods nearby, could remain just a project. The park would feature green areas, esplanades, artificial lakes, and bike trails. It would have three phases and would have a cost of 122 million pesos: 28 million in the first stage, 35 million in the second, and 52 million pesos in the final phase.
About these two projects, Mayor Trejo commented that unfortunately the state congress “has not approved some of these projects for San Miguel de Allende” because this is not the only city that they need to help. He made it clear that he will keep working with the three governmental levels in order to accomplish these works. If they were not concluded in 2014, surely they will be finished this year.
On this airfield located in the upper area of the city, Trejo decided to reserve the opening date for himself. In August last year, he commented that the airfield would be opened “in the next sixty days.” Trejo also assured that the city council will create a local company made up of members of the local administration and the private sector, which would be in charge of getting the permits from the General Department of Aeronautics to allow the landing of Pilatus, Caravan 206, King Air 186 aircraft, and others, in the first phase of the airfield development. In the second phase, once the local company begins operation, hangar construction and a control tower would begin, and some electrical work with the high-voltage lines would be done to allow the landing of air taxis, “always respecting the regulations,” Mayor Trejo said. The third phase of the airfield “will reach out as far as the imagination can take us,” remarked Trejo.
Some public works started in the past have not been finished, like the Foro San Carlos, known as the Concha Acústica. Its construction was started by Nuñez’s administration and was handed over to the current local government. The administration headed by Trejo announced in February last year that there had been an embezzlement of several million pesos. They also said that the metal tubular structure of the concha was bent due to the weight of the concrete, and it could collapse. The local government never revealed the amount of the embezzlement but arranged several audits. On this matter, Núñez defended herself and commented that the audits have not found any crime in the construction of this work. She made it clear that the tubular structure was bent to give the shape to the shell. She also commented that 14 million pesos that were in the budget for the construction of this place were lost. The band shell was to be a forum with a capacity of 10 thousand people and could host events of international quality.
Art and Culture Center at the Train Station
The opening of this center has not been possible because, according to the coordinator of the legal department of the local administration, Alí Patlán, a section of the esplanade is owned by a private party. For that reason the works cannot be continued. Núñez made it clear that the space owned by the private party “is nothing,” and it could not stop the opening of the space because Kansas Southern did not just donate the building but almost all the esplanade to be used as parking lot. The “triangle of the private party” she said, does not interfere with the project. More than 12 million pesos were invested in this abandoned project.
The slaughterhouse located on the road to Dr. Mora has not been completed. According to Núñez, the waste water treatment plant at the new space was 70 percent completed, and only the electrical connection was missing in order to certify the slaughterhouse and start operations. Núñez also commented that the equipment was purchased during her administration, and it is in storage in Irapuato. The former mayor assured that this administration does not want to inaugurate the works that she left almost completed.
Currently, the slaughterhouse holds operations on calzada de la Estación. Once the new slaughterhouse on the road to Dr. Mora is opened, the older one would close. That would allow the construction of the second phase of the Cuevitas community center.
Núñez criticized the current administration for “donating” part of the second story of a house on Mesones 71 to UNAM. She commented that UNAM has nothing to do with San Miguel and, in addition, UNAM received a donation of five hectares during the administration of Jesús Correa. The house on Mesones 71 was a culture project for Sanmiguelenses, she concluded.