Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Minor Example of Municipal Malfunction

Parque la Concordia today, and tomorrow, and the day after...
El Parque de La Concordia is a small public park located above the La Candelaria neighborhood, furnished with some swings, exercise bars and a futsal/basketball court. It's popular with neighborhood sports teams and dog walkers, as well as hippies and pot smokers. It's about the only substantial green area nearby.

At least, that's the way it was, until the city improvement folks got their hands on it.

In March, city workers blocked off the park and began renovation work due to be finished by July 1. July came and went, as did, Sept. 1, the next completion date. Since then, the city appears to have given up on publicly announcing such dates. I'd bet money that the park won't be completed until 2017.

Is this just incompetence? Bad planning? Or, is someone stretching this project out to milk all the money they can from it? After all, besides myself, nobody else seems to be paying attention to this project, even tho this was the neighborhood's only usable court for sports. (The only other one, a few blocks away, is disabled by a separate public construction project.)

Meanwhile, on hill hillside above, the Externado University is racing ahead with its construction of two towers, for which it deforested a large area, and which will block residents' views of the hillside.

The most infuriating part of all this? It was a perfectly good park before they started on it.

Will this history be repeated in the construction of Bogotá's metro system? Many prospective contractors and public officials are undoubtely salivating already. On the other hand, the metro project will recieve lots of media scrutiny, something which doesn't happen with small projects like this one.

And here's the topper: The electricity company clearly did their work, trusting, I suppose, that the contractors would actually finish by July. So, now we have and unused and useless park lighted up all night by two dozen super-bright bulbs, for the benefit of one security guard. This is a nation with blackouts and, until the recent rains, an impending electricity crisis.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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