Park upgrade

Cycle paths and renovations for Santiago's Parque Forestal

The well-loved park in the historic city center will gain new furniture, bike paths, more green spaces and better lighting after consultations with local residents.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011  
Parque Forestal is a well-loved feature of historic central Santiago. (Photo: Tae Sandoval Murgan/Fl Parque Forestal is a well-loved feature of historic central Santiago. (Photo: Tae Sandoval Murgan/Flickr)

Plans to upgrade one of the biggest green spaces in downtown Santiago will go ahead at the end of the month, following extensive consultation with local residents.

The Parque Forestal renovation project will see the introduction of an automated sprinkler system, new outdoor furniture, a cycle path and better lighting.

However, a proposed paved courtyard adjoining Santiago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) will not be included in the changes after residents expressed concerns.

Following a series of neighborhood meetings about the upgrade, the Municipality of Santiago agreed to establish a technical committee which recommended more grass areas for the park, after conducting a review of the plan.

In another change, a bicycle path included in the plans will now have a hard grass surface instead of being paved with asphalt.

The mayor of Santiago, Pablo Zalaquett, said the committee had been able to reach a consensus with park users.

"We are now applying this system in the remodeling of other parks," he told La Tercera.

Local resident, Ricardo Loebell, is satisfied with the outcome. The philosophy professor at the Universidad Mayor who has lived near the park for 20 years, was invited to participate in the technical committee after voicing his concerns about the original plans.

“We realized that there was genuine interaction between the mayor and the residents,” he told local newspaper La Tercera.

Fellow resident, Juan Francisco Sánchez, also praised the consultation process.

“The project will go ahead according to the guidelines set by the techinical committee,” he told La Tercera. “The ideas put forward by the neighbors have prevailed.”

It is expected that the renovations will be completed by December this year.