After successive delays, the City of São Paulo must finally deliver the Augusta park next July and put an end to a soap opera that has been going on in the city for 50 years.
The plot involves a block between the streets Augusta, Caio Prado and Marquês de Paranaguá, in the central region of the city, in an area of 23 thousand m², which will now have a preserved forest, spaces for physical activities, a grandstand for presentations and a dog park.
In addition, it will have archaeological attractions, with the restoration of the portal and the house that existed on the site. The concern with heritage, say city hall and councilors, is one of the differentials of the new city park.
This is because in the excavations and construction of the park, 2,126 archaeological materials were found, including crockery, glass, ceramics and metals, among others.
The city says that these materials must be from a period in the 19th and 20th centuries, since around the park there are two archaeological sites from that time.
“The park will have an important social function in addition to what a public park already offers. It will have an archaeological function, it is the first urban archaeological park in the city. An investigation of memory, of rescue, which will serve an educational purpose, with exposure of the that was rescued “, says Ana Claudia Banin, sociologist and member of the park’s management council.
The occupation records for the park region began in 1902, when the Uchoa mansion was built, the last name of a couple from the São Paulo aristocracy, Flávio de Mendonça Uchoa and Evangelina de Prado Uchoa, landowners in Ribeirão Preto. The land had been donated to the couple by Dona Veridiana de Prado, owner of the farm that occupied the entire region
The palace was built by the French architect Victor Dubugras, one of the forerunners of modern architecture in the country, which was successful among the elite of the time.
Shortly after construction, however, in 1906, the mansion was sold to the congregation of Nossa Senhora das Cônegas de Santo Agostinho, who expanded the building and founded the Colégio Des Oiseaux there.
The school, a boarding school for the daughters of the elite of São Paulo, functioned until 1969. In 1970, the city government decreed the space as of public utility, to build a garden on site, and this is where the dispute for the use of the land begins.
This is because the new owners wanted to build a hotel with 1,400 apartments in place, and managed to reverse the decree of public utility. Without authorization, the palace was demolished the following year.
At the end of the decade, another construction company embarked on the idea and promised the largest hotel complex on the continent, but the project did not go ahead.
But the dispute with the owners is not over, and in the 2000s there was an attempt to build a hypermarket to commercial towers there, always without success. In 2008, Gilberto Kassab (2006-2012) decreed public utility again.
In 2010, the place was bought by the construction companies Setin and Cyrela, at the same time that a mobilization for the creation of the park was growing among the residents of the region – which even occupy the land and promote artistic festivals.
The Fernando Haddad management (2013-2016) even proposed a hybrid solution and reconciled the opening of the site to the population, maintaining the park on 40% of the land, with the construction of commercial buildings, without success.
His successor, João Doria (2017-2018), who went so far as to say that the city government would not spend public money on it, made an agreement with the construction companies in exchange for a public land on the marginal Pinheiros and even promised that the park would be ready in 2018 , but it also failed to realize the idea.
The city obtained the deed of the place with the next mayor, Bruno Covas (PSDB), in 2018, which gave in exchange for the right of construction companies to erect buildings in other regions of the city. At the time, he promised that the park would be open to the population in 2020.
The city hall says that in 2019 it started to do works, but that it had to stop the process in the following year, by determination Iphan (National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage), given the archaeological potential of the area.
The municipal administration also says that, as determined by Conpresp (municipal council of patrimony), it was necessary to prepare studies to preserve the park wall and that the pandemic made it difficult to continue the work.
THE HISTORY OF THE LAND
1902 – Uchoa Palace is built where today is the park’s land
1907 a 1969 – Traditional Des Oiseaux women’s college works on site
1970 – City Hall decrees public utility of the space to make a garden
1973 – Decree is reversed by the owners, who announce the construction of a hotel
1974 – Mansion is demolished without authorization; there is only one house left, today listed
1977 – Construtora Teijin buys the land to build a hotel complex, but a shipwreck project
1980s – A circus tarpaulin on the site houses the SP Project, with shows and activities
1989 – Decree obliges the maintenance of the open area
1996 – Former BCN banker Armando Conde acquires Teijin’s land
2004 – The forest that exists on the site is listed
2006 – Count announces hypermarket, and clash with residents begins. He gives up and decides to build 3 commercial towers, but the project is also rejected
2008 – Mayor Kassab (PSD) decrees public utility of the site again
2011 – House approves park creation
2012 – Companies Setin and Cyrela present their project for the area, with the construction of towers
2013 – Decree of public utility expires, Cyrela and Setin formalize the purchase of the land, and gates are closed to the public. Haddad (PT) sanctions law authorizing the creation of the park
2014 – In January, the Secretariat for Green and Environment states that it has no funds to finance construction
2015 – Approximately 300 activists occupy the land for two months, while the city council approves project of construction companies for enterprise. In April, Justice grants preliminary injunction to open the gate
2016 – Public prosecution action against construction companies asks for return of the area and indemnity for collective moral damages
2016 – During the electoral campaign, Doria tells “Estado de S. Paulo” that the park would not leave the paper: “The city will not spend public money on it”
2017 – Doria announces that it will offer public land to contractors in exchange for the park area, and announces that the area will be opened in 2018. Agreement is abandoned the following year
2018 – Management Covas and construction companies announce new agreement, and promise park for 2020
2020 – Pandemic and encounter of artifacts paralyze work; city hall catalogs found objects and promises archaeological value of the park