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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Aguada mayor says Parque Colón land belongs to his town

Aguada Mayor Christian Cortés Feliciano says the land occupied by Parque Colón, which has been reported as being located in the Municipality of Aguadilla, actually belongs to Aguada.

By The Star Staff

Aguada Mayor Christian Cortés Feliciano reacted Thursday to the approval, without public hearings, of Joint Resolution 75 in the island House of Representatives, which would order the Committee on Evaluation and Disposition of Real Estate to evaluate the transfer of the property and facilities of Parque Colón to the Municipality of Aguadilla, saying the park belongs to Aguada.

“The promoter of the measure, Rep. Wilson Román, erroneously points out that for the Municipality of Aguadilla to assume responsibility for the reconstruction of Parque Colón, it must have title to the [land] and the facilities built on it,” Cortés Feliciano said.

The mayor, who is a lawyer, also related a historical fact that he said should not be overlooked, which is that in the years 1931-32, the course of the Culebrinas Viejo River (Caño Madre Vieja) was diverted, at a point near its mouth, to the left bank, by Caño Carrizales. That detour changed the physical boundaries between Aguada and Aguadilla at that location.

The diversion work was performed by the Puerto Rico Department of the Interior, which was then directed by Guillermo Esteves Volkers. The then-mayor of Aguada, Carlos González, filed a complaint with the Department of the Interior, alleging that the diversion of the river affected the territorial limits.

The lawsuit reached the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, which determined that the interior commissioner had authority to carry out the work, but that in no way did it entail the loss of the boundary defined by the old riverbed.

Later, the Puerto Rico Planning Board concluded that the land that is located in Parque Colón has always been part of Aguada’s jurisdiction in Barrio Espinar. The dividing line on the northwest boundary between the two municipalities is Caño Madre Vieja, which runs in a northwest direction and places the lands toward its left bank within the limits of the Espinar de Aguada neighborhood.

On Feb. 22, 1987, the then-mayors of Aguada and Aguadilla, Julio César Román and Alfredo González Pérez, respectively, reached an agreement whereby the Municipality of Aguadilla recognized that the land where Parque Colón is located in territory belonging to the Municipality of Aguada. For its part, the Municipality of Aguada recognized that for many years the Municipality of Aguadilla had maintained the area of Parque Colón, so it granted the administration of those lands owned by the Municipality of Aguada.

That act of brotherhood between neighboring peoples, known as “The Pact of Culebrinas,” made clear that both mayors recognized the legal fact that Parque Colón is located on land whose property title belongs to Aguada, specifically to the Espinar neighborhood, Cortés Feliciano noted.Thus the mayor of Aguada grants the power of administration of the lands to the Municipality of Aguadilla.

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