Friday, December 21, 2007

Re: "In the same boat"

Hola Sra. Araneta:

The locale for Paseo Caribe would indeed ruin a beautiful historic area. I once had an office on the 11th floor of the Caribe Bldg. accross the street from the Caribe Hilton hotel. The site is on the East side of a small island called Puerta de Tierra connected to the mainland (much like Singapore is) by a causeway, the Dos Hermanos Bridge. South of the built-up area lies the Condado Lagoon where within sight of the tourism district, locals could still do some fishing.

There certainly are sound historic and environmental reasons to oppose to project. It would spoil not only the natural beauty of the area but also dwarf the historic site of San Geronimo (it's spelled with a "G" locally). If memory serves me right, there were not too many residences in the area, some of which were U.S. navy personnel housing. Expanding the population on-site would almost certainly disturb the marine life and the local gulls and pelicans.

It would appear that the Junta de Planificacion has altered its rules about development on the coastline. However, since the director of the Junta is appointed by the Governor and holds cabinet rank, it is entirely likely the Paseo plans have the backing of the Governor -- promising an uphill fight to opponents for sure.

Sadly, the same thing threatens historic sites in the auld sod. The last time I visited was in the 70's and was disappointed by many amateurish attempts at the beautification / restoration of historic churches, usually initiated by the parish priest -- well intentioned but architecturally un-informed. Things may have changed since then and I certainly hope so.

One only has to visit the Alamo in Tejas to see what poor development controls can do to a historic site. The mission sits dwarfed in a veritable canyon whose walls are made up of tall hotel buildings.

In particular, Intramuros holds special interest for me for family and historical reasons -- but let us leave that for another day.

R.V. in Los Angeles

Someone passed on your blog to me and I'm glad of it. I too value the Hispanic heritage of the archipelago and its historical landmarks.