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By Shandra Keesecker-Rivero and Azucena Mazón
On the evening of September 15th fireworks lit up the sky above City Hall in Puerto Peñasco as Prof. Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta waved the Mexican flag over the large crowd gathered for the annual “Grito” festivities, commemorating the 205th anniversary of the start of struggles for Mexican Independence. This was “El Profe’s” third and final time to lead the Independence Day celebrations at City Hall as mayor.
The day before, Prof. Figueroa had presented his final City Address as his 2012-2015 term as Mayor began to wind down. On Wednesday, September 16th –Mexican Independence Day – incoming Mayor Ernesto “Kiko” Munro, along with the 2015-2018 City Council was sworn in.
During Monday’s address at Peñasco’s Expo Convention Center, Prof. Figueroa particularly emphasized over the past 3 years there have been tremendous improvements to infrastructure across the city, from roads to new recreational and athletic spaces, and healthier finances overall. Some of the notable projects undoubtedly included renovating the entrance to Puerto Peñasco along Blvd. Juárez, along with the “tourist circuit” encompassing streets from Calle 13 toward the Old Port, and modernizing athletic, recreational, and community spaces across town. Many of the recreational projects can now be found at what is called “La Milla”, behind the baseball stadium, which now offers a skatepark, new basketball courts, soccer fields, and a track for walkers/runners. (Note – parking is still a challenge)
He highlighted further achievements from the City Treasury, which managed to restructure municipal debt with numerous agencies while also paying off a number of outstanding credits.
Prof. Figueroa, noting that history will judge how his administration would be remembered, emphasized strengthening safety and providing better services help to further the goal of situating Puerto Peñasco as the most important tourist destination in Northwestern Mexico.
On Wednesday morning, September 16th, a large crowd was ushered back into Peñasco’s ExpoCenter for the swearing in of Ernesto “Kiko” Munro. Governmental representatives from the state level, as well as invited mayors and city council members from neighboring cities in Arizona, along with numerous people from all sectors of the Puerto Peñasco community filled the ExpoCenter to bare witness to the swearing in of the 2015-2018 city administration.
Stressing that tourism would continue to be the economic spine that moves Puerto Peñasco, Kiko’s passionate speech was preceded with a ten-point list of actions his administration has outlined as a vision for the city’s future:
Safety: Neighborhood police, tourist police, department patrol cars and uniforms, security cameras, and the creation of a new Puerto Peñasco – Sonoyta safety corridor
Digital Peñasco: Transform Peñasco into a digital city through the help of new technologies.
Cleaner Peñasco: Recycling of trash, maintenance of city’s landfill and promotion of a waste water treatment plant.
Modernity: Rehabilitating, remodeling, and building in different parts of the city: plazas, cultural and recreational areas, sewage networks, public lighting and paving of roads.
Prosperity: Establish a first rate hospital, attract franchises and conventions to the area, along with industrial and mining development in the region
Social Needs: Recreational and social development activities to improve the quality of life for low-income families, children, youth, and the elderly
Sustainability: Make Peñasco a sustainable city through the use of renewable energy, ecotourism, clean beaches and promotion of the Upper Gulf of California and Pinacate Biosphere Reserve.
Culture: Presentations by outstanding artists, promotion of special events such as the Cervantino festival, and activities within neighborhoods to make culture a cornerstone of human development for Peñasco’s residents
Transparency: Changes in the management of public resources. Transparent administration for the peace and well-being of the entire community.
Tourism: Aware that we live in a paradise created by mother nature, where the sea and desert unite to provide scenery that is unique across the globe and one that possesses the Reserves of the Pinacate and the Upper Gulf of California. We have everything to draw visitors from across the world to enjoy our very own paradise while we transform Puerto Peñasco into the most important tourist destination in Northwestern Mexico.