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Mexico’s gov’t unveils plan to make Bosque de Chapultepec a cultural hub

Mexico City, Apr 2 (EFE).– The Mexican government unveiled a plan on Tuesday to renovate the Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s largest public park, turning it into an enormous space for cultural activities.

“We’re talking about 800 hectares (1,975 acres). It’s going to be the biggest and most important cultural space in the world,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during his daily press conference.

The government plans to make the park safe for visitors by putting the National Guard, a new law enforcement agency, in charge of security at the vast space.

El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ofrece este martes su rueda de prensa matutina en Palacio Nacional, en Ciudad de México (México). El Gobierno mexicano presentó este martes un proyecto para convertir en un gran espacio de recreación cultural el Bosque de Chapultepec, pulmón verde de Ciudad de México, y aseguró que reforzará su seguridad con la nueva Guardia Nacional. EFE

The president, a former Mexico City mayor popularly known as AMLO, said the Chapultepec park and cultural complex would have some properties added to it, including a parcel belonging to the Defense Secretariat that previously housed an arms factory.

The National Guard, a law enforcement agency created by the new administration to deal with the wave of violence in Mexico, will provide security in the area, Lopez Obrador, the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said.

The National Guard “will be in charge of security along the whole perimeter of the forest and will use all the methods for protection,” AMLO said.

The president said the park’s renovation will allow people to “walk freely, reflect, analyze and enjoy the arts, culture and our history.”

Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto, for her part, said the project would make its mark on history and help “transform” the country.

Frausto noted that the official Los Pinos presidential residence, which is located within the forest, was opened to the public on Dec. 1 and now the park’s cultural mission will spread to all of the property.

The huge green space is currently home to 11 museums, five parks, natural areas, an imposing pantheon, cultural areas and art works, the culture secretary said, adding that fairs were also held at the park.

“This grand project will try to bring everything together in one vast space,” Frausto said.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said she was happy to learn that the great “urban forest” would be expanded, noting the site’s tremendous cultural value.

The project’s creative director, Gabriel Orozco, discussed the renovation plan, explaining that officials wanted to “reformulate accessibility and interconnectedness” with the rest of the urban core.

Orozco, an artist who is not charging for his services, said parts of the park, including the third section, which was “a bit abandoned,” would be restored.
The project calls for planting a large number of trees to reforest the area, Orozco said.

In response to a question from a reporter, Lopez Obrador said the project was an example of “managing funds with rationality.”

The president said the Bosque de Chapultepec would be restored so that it would be in the same league as other great cultural sites, such as Florence, that overwhelm visitors with their beauty.

Sheinbaum said some legal issues would have to be addressed, adding that some business leaders already contribute funds to the forest and a trust exists.

Lopez Obrador wrapped up the project’s presentation by saying that “we cannot provide precise figures yet” on the budget.

“The important thing here is creativity, the ecological, artistic and cultural concept, and the budget will be prepared. It’s not going to be a lot,” AMLO said, noting that the final plan and figures would be released in two or three months.

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