By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Parque da Independência (Independence Park) is a famous and one of the most remarkable sightseeing spots in São Paulo and in urgent need of restoration.
The City of São Paulo finally signed on Sunday (5th) a contract for the expansion and the rehabilitation of this fabulous site in the Ipiranga neighborhood, south of the city. The park is listed by cultural heritage defense agencies at the municipal, state and federal levels.
The current area of 161,000 square meters will be increased by about 26,000 square meters.
The renovation is expected to last eight months and will include the opening of new paths, playgrounds, gym equipment, gardens, and lighting.
The Independence Park was created in 1909, on the banks of the Ipiranga Stream, where Dom Pedro I proclaimed Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822.
In addition to the gardens and fountains, the park houses the Monumento da Independência, Museu Paulista and the Museu de Zoologia.
The Park’s main attraction is the Museu do Ipiranga – or Museu Paulista. Currently closed for renovations, the Museum’s collection is preserved by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Iphan).
At the end of March, Governor João Doria announced that he had raised R$36 million (US$3.5 million) with the support of three companies to restore the Museu Paulista.
The total project is estimated at R$160 million. The space has been closed since 2013 when structural issues were identified in the building. The aim is to inaugurate the New Museu do Ipiranga in 2022, the year of the bicentenary of Independence.
With the exception of Pedro Américo’s painting Independência ou Morte (Independence or Death), the entire collection, more than 400,000 items, is stored in five rented properties and transformed into technical repositories.
For this purpose, there was an investment of R$35 million. The museum is closed for visitors but continues to be used for teaching and research.
The complete project contemplates a new occupation of the museum, with more than 5 thousand square meters of area for exhibitions and cultural activities and in a totally accessible way.
The refurbishment also includes an auditorium, a café with a souvenir shop and a lookout point. The renovation of the museum intends to triple the annual visiting capacity, going from 300 thousand registered in 2013 to 900 thousand.
In addition to acquiring one of the quotas for raising sponsorship for the restoration of the museum in the amount of R$12 million, the Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo (Sabesp) will depollute the Ipiranga Creek in conjunction with the city government of the State of São Paulo.
The goal is to ensure that the stream is completely clean by 2022 when the museum should be reopened.