The fact that a successful coastal tourist community such as Playas del Coco is growing and improving its infrastructure may not initially appear to be anything special. But the fact that the improvements are coming about thanks to the coordinated efforts of organized groups within the community is truly a remarkable occurrence.
Pictures and Text by: Andrés Benavente
During recent years, Playas del Coco has stopped
asking and has come together and attained the progress they desired without
waiting for the national government to come and do it. During the last
few years, principal streets have been paved, new sidewalks built, the police
supplied with better and necessary resources (2 motorcycles, one police truck,
equipment and uniforms appropriate for the local weather), all as a
result of an alliance between volunteers, organized groups, investors and
municipal authorities. Beyond all of this, maintenance has been provided
to such urban infrastructure as lighting and bus stops. The beaches have been
kept clean trough regular programs and also thanks to citizens who have made it
a habit to help pick up as they walk the beach. A plan to keep the town clean
has been implemented and maintenance is being given to the green areas. Amongst
many other positive actions elementary and high schools has been provided, with
del Vecchio, the Minister of Security, expressed it very aptly during
the ceremony in which she gave the police of Playas del Coco a new
police vehicle donated by members of the local business community.
kind of local government that this community has, is the kind of local
government that we wish each community in Costa Rica could have.”
One of the most recent measures has been the recuperation of the beach area, where there used to be buildings in the maritime zone dating back several decades, there is now a beach area.
This change has left a completely new beachfront and returned some 50 meters of new sandy area back to the community.
This has been a very controversial act as demolishing these structures negatively impacted the people who had resided there for many years, predating the establishment of the Maritime-Land Zone law (ZMT) in 1977. Nevertheless, the law has been enforced and now Playas del Coco sports a new face.
But this does not end here; on the contrary, this is the beginning of a new endeavor, which is the most ambitious yet to be assumed by this community: The building of a boardwalk spanning the length of the recovered coastal front.
The idea has been taking shape for a few years and now its design is ready and the municipal resources have been approved, complementing the private cooperation in the realization of the project. Those who aspire to see Playas del Coco transformed into a world-class tourist destination combined with the marvelous design of Ronald Zürcher Architects have helped make this dream closer to a reality.
It will still take time for this project to be completed, but in the meantime, Playas del Coco already has a new beachfront look. A look that is more friendly and hospitable. Until recently, going to the beach through town was frankly… disappointing. One would run into chunks of cement and a series of ugly buildings that stretched almost to the water line.
Today, it’s a totally different story. The buildings that used to clutter the beach have been demolished and sand can now be found once again in its rightful place.
As for the future if everything stays on track, the outlook for Playas del Coco looks quite promising….
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