The adobe houses and the architectural wealth that have been preserved along Calle Real may be the key to reviving downtown Liberia’s economy, according to the canton’s municipality.
The “Calle Real Linear Park” is a municipal project that consists of making a 200-meter boulevard to stimulate businesses affected by COVID-19.
“We’ve had quite a dip in business licenses canceled and businesses closing. We feel that this boulevard is going to beautify the center of Liberia and drive business next to it so that more customers visit,” said Liberia’s vice mayor, Arianna Badilla.
The municipality will develop the first stage on the south side of Mario Cañas Ruiz Park from the government building to the Copa de Oro restaurant. However, they envision extending the project to Puente Real in the future.
Construction of the Calle Real Linear Park will begin in January 2021. Liberia’s culture, history and identity are the central concepts that will be incorporated into the boulevard.
The project, directed by the road management unit, will have a stamped concrete slab and it will be designed to enhance and preserve the colonial architecture present in Calle Real.
The lighting will imitate the gas lanterns from the colonial period and will be powered by solar energy.
“We want the colonial roots present in our history, which are still reflected in Calle Real, to be an attraction for them to visit Liberia and for the canton to stop being a pass-through city,” said Badilla.
In addition, the park will have two green areas and a place set up so that visitors can linger on the boulevard and visit the nearby businesses.
The 200-meter project will cost the municipality ₡181.7 million (about $305,000). The funds are part of the money collected thanks to Law 9156, which grants the mayor’s office 38.6% of the departure tax charged at the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia.
Of the total amount, ₡161 million (about $270,000) will be allocated to the concrete slab, and the rest will go to lighting and property, according to Badilla.
The Liberia Chamber of Commerce doesn’t know all of the project details. However its president, Jose Amilcar, thinks that carrying out initiatives focused on infrastructure is necessary to drive business and mitigate the socioeconomic consequences caused by the pandemic.
“Liberia doesn’t take advantage of its tourism potential because it lacks the infrastructure that would allow it to attract people, which eventually drives business. In that sense, they should think about having places to stay and take advantage of the tourist traffic,” said Amilcar.
The boulevard is part of another series of projects aimed at driving business by beautifying central Liberia.
The municipality plans to install an illuminated sign in the park with the name of the canton accompanied with photographs that show Calle Real’s history and cultural activities that most represent Liberia.
“This street is very important for Liberians. We have a lot of history here and activities are held like the gala bull parade. The photographs will allow visitors to learn who we are as Liberians and what our customs are,” said the vice mayor.
Badilla hopes that the next parade, held in March, can be held with this new backdrop.