The Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) joined efforts to create a task force to assess and restore the most beloved promenade in Puerto Rico, El Paseo La Princesa, which was impacted by the immense waves created by the recent nor-easter storm.
In addition to agency representatives, the task force includes experts in the field of architecture, structural and civil engineering, culture and history, and Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives. The promenade borders the fortress that protects the city of San Juan from the bay, and is walked by thousands of visitors every day.
The goal of the task force is to restore the promenade’s natural beauty in such a way that it integrates historical, cultural and structural considerations and the works can withstand any future impact caused by unprecedented weather.
Additionally, the collaborative process between the national and state government will be transparent throughout and looks to provide insight into adequate planning and development for constructions in coastal zones.
“Our priority right now is the safety of all visitors and residents as we work to reopen our beautiful El Paseo La Princesa. Our commitment is to look to experts in the field as we take on the restoration project to ensure the work is done responsibly and aligned with best practices in the field,” said Carla Campos, acting cxecutive director of the Tourism Co.
“The promenade is one of many attractions that differentiates us from the rest of the Caribbean. It represents our rich culture and while it’s temporarily closed, other sites and attractions like La Fortaleza to El Morro are open and we encourage travelers to see them when visiting San Juan, recently named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2018,” she said.
The task force will kick off its first phase of the action plan with trash pickup, debris removal and rock excavation over the next two weeks. This consists of the NPS cross-sharing heavy machinery, while the Tourism Co. gathers volunteers to work on this phase. Funding was secured by the NPS to stabilize the North side and on the South end, the Touris. Co. will be evaluating funding to complete the renovation work.
The North side will open to the public after initial cleanup is completed and since the South end endured stronger damage, it will remain closed until further assessment is conducted and renovation takes place properly.
The execution of the project will involve a multidisciplinary team of professionals including conservationists, architects, engineers, historians, and others.