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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

DTOP reviewing sale of public land in Condado that was home to a community park

Transportation and Public Works Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega

By The Star Staff

Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega has requested a report on the sale of a public plot on Ashford Avenue in Condado for a mere $145,000 which residents claim was a community park and will be turned into a condominium.

“The information that we have preliminarily compiled is that it began in 2019 and the subsequent processes took place in accordance with the law,” Vélez Vega said in a statement on Monday. “In keeping with this information, I have requested that a complete review of the file be carried out immediately and that a report be submitted to me no later than Tuesday [today] afternoon.”

Manuel Calderón, a spokesman for the Popular Democratic Party in the San Juan City Assembly, said the custodian of the land is the DTOP and that Vélez Vega must be accountable to the people in the surrounding communities, including Loíza and Condado streets in the Machuchal sector.

“It has transpired through demonstrations made by several residents of Condado and Santurce, that the government of Puerto Rico sold some land in front of Parque del Indio that served as a passive park that was maintained and used by all members of these communities,” Calderón said.

The residents said the sale of the property was executed without consulting nearby communities.

Amaury Rivera, a resident, issued a statement saying the community woke up “to see how a private entity fenced off one of its few public parks.”

A few months ago, he said, residents of the area noticed that the trees in the park, known as Parque Borinquen, were dying and that an investigation determined that the trees were being poisoned. Then on Friday, park benches had been removed and a fence was put up around the area.

A sign posted in the area identifies the architect of the proposed projects as José Fernando Vázquez, who is the brother-in-law of Andrés Guillemart, who is married to Caridad Pierluisi, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia’s sister.

After several procedural steps, residents found out that DTOP had sold the park to Krug Property for $145,000 to develop a “casa de apartamentos,” or an apartment unit.

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