Thursday, January 12, 2012

Feria Libre Area and 'Progress'

The biggest people's market in Cuenca is the Feria Libre.  Everytime we go there, we are stunned by the choices and the sheer humanity!  Feria Libre is a short walk from our apt.  The neighborhood backs up to our urban development/growth area. 

A friend lives in the Feria Libre neighborhood.  His family has lived there for several generations in the same houses.  When he was a kid, this area was 'country'.  He played in the open fields and the river in his neighborhood and ours.  It took awhile to get to the center of town, sometimes by horseback on dirt roads in those days.   He barely recognizes the area now with all the apt buildings and road improvements!  We've also seen a huge jump in new construction and density right here in our neighborhood in the last 3 years or so.

One day, we took a walk of his neighborhood with him.

We discovered little, hidden alley ways... 

The City is in the process of creating new streets and some of the old, old houses will have to be torn down to make way.  One of our friend's family member's houses is on the list to be demolished after the elders pass on.  It's sitting in the way of progress, as the City wants to widen and pave the alley and re-route traffic down the side streets.

Today, the alleys are filled with a mix of old adobe, as well as some newer houses.

We saw a cow taking a snooze.  It is so quiet there, compared to the hustle and bustle of busy Av. Las Americas and the market just a couple blocks away.

(Those are pallets stacked in the background for a nearby business.)

We love these out of way little neighborhoods!  This one is vibrant, busy, noisy and colorful, full of families making a living and living their lives.


'Progress', good and bad.  Rich paid the property taxes the other day.  Not a quick process.  After several stops to other agencies, he finally got in the tax line. 
You may wonder about the long lines of people at one of the government buildings at Parque Calderon.  It's just folks paying their property taxes.  They can get a discount if they pay early.  10% discount if they pay by Jan. 15th; 5% between the 15th and the 30th.

Rich learned that taxes have gone up significantly for some, and some folks are very unhappy.  Single family houses got hit for, in some cases, *hundreds* of additional  dollars this year!  Apartments owners, like us, did get a hike in their tax bill, but just a few dollars, comparatively speaking....this time.

(These are more pictures of the road construction at our round-about.)

The explanation, as we can understand it, is that the City to trying to recoup/fund their expenses for 'progress' roads, new signage, upgraded utilities and other infrastructure.

We are expecting taxes and fees to go up more in our neighborhood later, too.  We also think that if you rent, your monthly bill could jump.  Landlords will most likely pass on the tax increases to their renters.

(Pictures of our spiffy new street...blacktop, new white and yellow lines.)

Picture of a new apt building in our neighborhood going up fast, the River View.

Kind of reminds us of urban development projects and resulting taxes and fees in the rural County in southern Oregon, where we used to live.  As the City of Grants Pass expanded, some of the more rural areas were incorporated into the City, including new development areas.  Sidewalks were added, roads were paved, underground utilities were added and more. 

But, the downside was that these previously rural areas were suddenly under City 'rules'... no livestock allowed, building permits and inspections were required and enforced (and sometimes over-the-top expensive), taxes went sky-high and services were provided that perhaps the residents didn't want or need (City water vs. their private wells, for example).  Some folks found they just couldn't afford to keep their properties, which was sad.  Some lost their homes and land.  A whole lifestyle in those areas just disappeared.

We hope being in a progressive, urban growth area doesn't change the 'feel' of the neighborhood here.  New roads and more jobs are good, but there is a price for 'progress'.


More pics of the Feria Libre

Back on Los Americas, about 3 blocks from the Market, there is Dragon's Park.
A huge dragon sculpture.  (Hard to see the details in the picture.)  Kids love the dragon.  We do, too.

Christmas tree of lights.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the photo tour.. We are expecting our landlord to up the rent here as we live right by you guys.. we noticed that our elec. and water costs have gone up too.. did you notice that? Keep an eye out in the campo... we may need to head out there next year.. I hear the taxes are not so high.. :>)