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By Philip Sever, Contributing Reporter

Ipanema Obelisk and footbridge, photo by Philip Sever.
Ipanema Obelisk and footbridge, photo by Philip Sever.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Mayor Eduardo Paes announced on Thursday (April 9th) a project to remove the Ipanema Obelisk and foot bridge. However whether the project goes ahead depends on the outcome of a public vote. Eduardo Paes made the announcement at the site of the project in Ipanema. Paes stated “I am awaiting the results of the poll, I do not like the Obelisk or the footbridge”

The Ipanema Obelisk and footbridge were constructed at bar vinte praca and mark the end of Leblon and the start of Ipanema. The Obelisk was originally constructed as a 60ft street lamp. Even at the time of construction the Obelisk was not well received by locals. Steps were originally intended to be built for people to move from the footbridge on to the pavement, this however was prevented by locals.

Anyone who is familiar with Ipanema and Leblon will be aware of the extensive building works which have been going on in the area. Residents are becoming fed up with the constant works that are taking place. However Bruno Pereira, chief superintendent of a trade association that represents shops and other businesses in the Ipanema area is one of those who voted for the obelisk and footbridge to be removed.

Residents have been showing their disapproval of the constant construction since the previous mayor, Cesar Maia, took office in 1996. The constant removal of old buildings and introduction of new buildings has been a common feature in the area for over ten years now. By businesses trying to make a profit by building new flats or by each successive new administration trying to put its mark on the area.

Evelyn Rosenzweig, president of the Leblon resident’s association told the Jornal do Brazil that she is a fan of architect Paul Case, the creator of the Obelisk and footbridge. However believes the whole thing should be removed from Ipanema and nothing should be put there in its place.

Some residents fear that Eduardo Paes will go the way of Cesar Maia who promised to remove the Obelisk but never fulfilled this commitment. However Maria Amelia believes Paes is very attentive to the wants of the public and hopefully the pledge of Cesar Maia will now be fulfilled.

When the works were originally planned during the administration of Cesar Maia the project was estimated to cost R$20,000. However Abílio Borges the engineering advisor to the Regional Council of Engineering and Architecture (CREA-RJ) reached a lower budget, R$10,000. This would cover the cost of removing the footbridge and the Obelisk.

The engineer explained that the estimate is lower than the previous estimate because the parts of metal used in the bridge and the Obelisk can be recycled. According to Abilio, the city could save a lot of money. However other engineers have been asked to give an estimate and none of the other engineers with the exception of Abilio have been able to give an exact figure.

At the beginning of last year, the Aspásia Councilor Camargo (PV) did a survey with 96 residents of Ipanema, 91% of those asked were in favor of the Obelisk and footbridge being removed.

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