The urban renewal project of Colón kicked off on Monday, December 15, when President Juan Carlos Varela operated a mechanical shovel to demolish three old group homes, in a work that involves the investment of $600 million. “Today we embark upon a social transformation and the greatest, most impactful urban and housing project that has ever been undertaken in the province of Colón,” said the president of the Republic.
In the province of Colón, 14 old mansions have been demolished by the National Coordinator of Projects agency, at a cost of $459,011. An additional 31 buildings will soon follow suit. The measure aims to remove dilapidated structures and debris and to clean up several areas.
The plan proposes building 5,000 apartments, beginning with 2,500 apartments to be located within the 85-hectares of the Altos de Los Lagos neighborhood. Each apartment will be 42 square meters and cost about $50,000 each. The project is expected to take approximately 36 months to complete.
The plan calls for the construction of concrete streets with wide sidewalks, bike paths, sports fields, playgrounds and green areas, a cultural center, a Child Guidance Center (Coif), spaces for religious organizations, police stations, a model school for 5,000 pupils, spaces for public markets and a center for jazz.
“Colón’s Urban Revitalization Plan,” together with complementary projects underway, seeks to change the physical image of that city. The work includes the restoration of 21 historic buildings and monuments.
In closing, President Varela said that the 30 gangs known to be operating in Colón will soon become 30 Colón families committed to the cause of peace.
Colón is the capital of the province of Colón and is located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The estimated 2010 population was about 34,655 people, making it the country’s fourth most populous city after Panama City, San Miguelito and Arraiján. Colón is connected to Panama by the 78.9 km-long Transisthmian Highway. Its location near the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal is vitally important for the country because of the Colón Free Zone (the world’s second largest) and the activity in its various ports.