Several months ago, ANA began receiving complaints and requests from neighbors about the ‘Caballito Stairs,’ a narrow pedestrian stairway running down to the beach from Calle Santa Barbara, between Almar Resort and Vallarta Manor (at the top) and Vallarta Shores (at the beach): the bottom 12-15 feet of stairway were missing. Obviously, this can be a real safety problem, especially at night.
And then, a couple of months ago, the Amapas Junta Vecinal received a petition about, among other things, rebuilding the stairs.
From documents, research, and conversation, it appears that two year or so ago, some neighbors wanted to change the stairs, went to Emiliano Zapata and promised improvements, upgrades, landscaping and lighting, and got the go-ahead to replace them. Then, without an actual permit, and over the objections of the owners, they started to build alternate stairway attached to Almar property.
Those “new stairs” were demolished the encroaching and replaced them with some temporary wooden ones that have since weathered away, so now there is nothing but an unmarked 12-15 foot drop from the last original landing to the street.
The destruction of the old stairs had the effect of enlarging the turn-around at the end of the Malecon, for which Vallarta Shores then managed to get a old parking permit. According to the Director of Transito, these permits, no matter how they may be marked, are for loading and unloading only — not actual parking. However, this has now become fulltime defacto private parking. As a result, turning around at the end of the street is now difficult, if not impossible.
Because ANA had been approached about the stairs being neighborhood safety issue, and the Junta Vecinal had been appealed to regarding this dispute between neighbors, it seemed appropriate to find out what was what, and to break the impasse, if possible.
Tom Swale as president of both organizations, and Gene Mendoza, as a vocal in both and a business owner in the beach/business area, arranged a series of meetings with with the neighbors sometimes individually, and sometimes together, and brokered a deal…or so we were led to believe.
Ignoring past history and who did what first, we would all work together to solve a lingering neighborhood problem, for the Amapas beach area, unwary stair-users, and the two neighboring businesses. Each of the parties would independently get a bid to replace the stairs (with a few jointly agreed modifications); we would then meet and agree on the winning design and/or bid; neighbors will put up part of the cost, and ANA would hold the funds, supervise, and pay for the resulting construction.
On Tuesday, April 10, we had the final meeting and agreed on the bid and the price. However, Vallarta Shore claimed that Obras Publicas had agreed to replace the stairs, beginning on Monday, April 15, and said we should wait until then. The rest of us were highly skeptical, and Viviana’s phone calls to Obras Publicas and Planning contacts came up empty. Nevertheless, we all agreed to wait and see. But if Obras Publicas did not begin work on that date, we would proceed with the agreed plan.
After three weeks, and no Obras Publicas. Finally, on Wednesday, May 2, Tom Swale send an email to the ANA board, to get the agreement to the following deal:
The comitted neighbors will contribute with 2/3 of the budget of Caballito Stairs Reconstruction Project. ANA will contribute up to a maximum of 1/3 to the project, which be awarded to our bidder, secure permission from Planning, generally supervise the project and administer the combined funds.
Finnally Monday 13th. the works have started, and Caballito Stairs will be back where they should be.