Local July 19, 2022 | 3:00 pm

Pile of state works stalled or left to be forgotten

Santo Domingo, DR
Consumed in oblivion and lined by the despair of the community members who once filled them with enthusiasm, this is how dozens of works throughout the country, left unfinished by governments in office and successive administrations that did not give them continuity, are passing by as the days go by.

Housing projects, recreation centers, and other works, half started or finished, are the only memory of these governmental plans whose names on signs have been erased or have lost their color with the passing of the years.

Two decades
One of the works among the group of pending projects is the Los Ríos Cultural and Sports Club, an area designed to promote sports in this sector, but now it is nothing more than a duck and chicken farm.

The club was started 20 years ago, during the presidency of Hipólito Mejía and with César Julio Cedeño Ávila at the head of the then Secretariat of Sports. Still, the work has been postponed from administration to administration.

José Holguín, part of the community committee dedicated to rescuing and taking advantage of the intermediate state in which the club was left, revealed that “all the ministers” had passed by the place and promised to finish the facilities, but, in the end, everything has remained the same.

Holguín pointed out that Los Ríos has more than 6,000 inhabitants and no sports area for young people.

“What can be offered to the youth?” the leader questioned and at the same time added that they have “the only multi-purpose facility with banana, guava, and roosters” inside.

The lack of definitive construction has not only given way to the slums in their surroundings but also came close to causing irreparable damage.

Crescencio López, another neighbor who has assigned himself the task of taking care of the children and adolescents who use the space as they can, explained that two years ago, a wall fragment collapsed on an apartment. He hopes they intervene before “a misfortune” occurs.

“That’s loose,” he said, pointing to the wall, and “if that falls on a boy from here I’ll die right there,” he said.

In La Zurza
Other works that have been stopped are those of several housing projects in different parts of Santo Domingo, such as the case of the apartments in La Zurza.

“It is no longer possible to live here with all the mosquitoes, the mice, and that river is a danger for the children,” declared Alicia, one of the heads of the 42 families temporarily relocated to the banks of the Isabela in the National District, until the houses promised to be delivered are finished.

Those relocated were distributed in an equal number of houses, built of wood and zinc, to shelter them for six months, according to those interviewed during a visit of reporters of Listín Diario.

However, these 180 days turned into 16 years of waiting, during which less than ten families were relocated.

Due to the deterioration suffered by these dwellings, the residents have had to “patch them up” with whatever they can find, going from their wood and zinc construction to a format of pieces of metal tanks, advertising banners, and cardboard to protect themselves from the outside.

However, this project is not stalled in its entirety. These neighbors reported that this year the mayor of the capital, Carolina Mejía, and the Santo Domingo Aqueduct and Sewage Corporation (Caasd) authorities visited them to discuss the project’s continuity and that some months ago, work began to prepare some land. However, they do not know if it is for them.

35 years
Another unfinished work related to housing projects is the group of apartments started by the National Housing Institute (INVI) in Invivienda, Santo Domingo East.

Of these buildings, at least seven were abandoned, and the neighbors took possession of them over the years without being part of the list of beneficiaries. One of those who was among this group of beneficiaries is Gisela Hernández, 68 years old, who had to accept one that was still unfinished because its completion was postponed.

Government Housing Plan
On 13 January, the government of Luis Abinader unveiled the details of the National Happy Family Housing Plan. This project will give ample facilities to acquire a home of their own to Dominican families.

The project, headed by the Ministry of the Presidency, will involve important economic sectors of society, including the financial, construction, and real estate sectors, which will be involved in this important initiative.

For the government, the National Happy Family Housing Plan marks “the beginning of the greatest process of accessibility to decent housing, guaranteeing security and family health; it is an urban renewal plan that will bring about a positive change” for families.

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Paul Tierney
July 19, 2022 7:37 pm

What has to be asked if not already is why were the works stopped? Some of the answers may point to contractors not being compensated, legal problems over property acquisitions, and dirty politics.