The Fight to preserve San Miguel’s Historic District

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.

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2 thoughts on “The Fight to preserve San Miguel’s Historic District

  1. Anonymous

    As a native San Miguelense I have to disagree with the recent efforts to stop developments in my town. Be it infrastructure, commercial or residential, all these proyects are much needed in a town that can remain enchanting with out being stuck in the past. Take the issue of the parking lot being built “near” the town square. As a tourist, and good knows we love them, you may not see the need for such infrastructure, but a a resident, business person or any one else with daily chores a parking lot is much needed. Right now it is nearly impossible to find a parking space down town, thus making it a hassle to attend meetings, go to banks or simply grab lunch down town. I believe a healthy balance can be found between preservation and development.

  2. I did not I said anything about SMA not needing a parking garage. I’m not a tourist (if your read further on the site you’ll see that): and I have lived in SMA myself. Carless, I will admit, but lived there I have.I’ve seen the traffic, and it’s a nightmare. And yes, there it is possible to strike a balance between development and preservation. In most cases, preservation will lose out, especially when people are trying to take a 400 year-old city and make it work for automobiles.I still stand by my statement that the people who live in SMA, which according the the article were both Mexican and expats, have a right to question and protest development projects that are not in keeping with the established standards. The articles I’ve read did not indicate that people do not want more parking downtown. Quite the contrary. It was the size of the structure and the question of it had been approved that was at issue.

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