San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Housing officials unveil new town plans for quake victims

The Costa Rican Housing Ministry revealed its new blueprint for Nueva Cinchona on Tuesday in front of hundreds of residents who lost their homes in the Jan. 8 earthquake.

Nueva Cinchona will be located in Cariblanco, a district of Sarapiquí, Alajuela, six kilometers from the old Cinchona.

The quake, which killed as many as 30 people and forced 3,000 to flee their homes, caused significant damage to a number of towns. But it leveled the town of Cinchona, in the Alajuela province northwest of San José. In the aftermath of the quake, government officials and media alike began calling the Jan. 8 event the “Cinchona Earthquake.”

The future 600-hectare Nueva Cinchona, designed by the Association of Engineers and Architects, incorporates enough houses to accommodate a projected population of 1,230 people, approximately 370 families. Each house will measure 54 square meters and will sit on a 300 to 500 square meter lot.

Infrastructure includes concrete roads that pass each home, parks, sidewalks, a fairground and new trees. Among some of Nueva Cinchona´s buildings will be a local church, a health center, a high school with a gym, the La Unión grade school and shops. The small town will receive water service from an Administrative Association of Rural Aqueducts (ASADA), which the type of local organization that typically supplies water to Costa Rica´s rural communities.

Construction of the new area will cost ¢ 560 million (about $1 million) and is expected to be complete by June 2010. Funds for the project were provided by the National Emergency Commissions, Banco de Costa Rica and other institutional and international donations.

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