San Miguel is a treasure worth fighting for, and a coalition of Mexican and Foreign expats joined together yesterday to protest the construction of a five-story parking garage just two blocks from the Jardín Principal and in the heart of the city's historic district.
Basta Ya, one of the more vocal groups (of the 11 protest groups formed in the city recently) organized the march from the Jardín Principal to the site two blocks away at Insurgentes and Hidalgo. The garage will hold 290 cars if it is completed.
I've been reading about this controversy on discussion lists. It appears that excavation at the site caused an adjoining wall along the staff parking lot for the General Hospital to collapse on Feb. 1, officials for the city have refused to order a halt to construction.
Basta Ya and other residents claim that the height of the garage will exceed the 8.5 meters allowed by the city´s building code and is not in keeping with the colonial heritage of the Historic District. The architects of the garage claim that the structure is needed to decrease the traffic congestion in town. They also plan to put a colonial facade on the building so it will fit in with the local architecture.
The garage project sounds much like the adobe-style garages that are located in downtown Santa Fe, NM. They, too, are designed to fit in, but I have to admit, they look like what they are: a tacky attempt to make an "adobe" parking garage.
I wish the residents of SMA luck as they move forward. It's difficult to fight projects like this once they have begun, but it is a battle worth fighting.