A statue of the Virgin Mary proposed for a hilltop in Guadalupe, Zacatecas, would be the tallest in the world and provide an economic boost to a low-income neighborhood.
The 47-meter-high statue would be erected on San Simón hill, drawing tourists to a marginalized area.
The project dates back to 2004, but the millions of pesos needed to build the monumental statue and a dearth of public funding left what little infrastructure was already built — a scenic overlook and 20 commercial stands — all but abandoned.
Project proponents have a different aim this time. Estimated to cost up to 80 million pesos (US $4.3 million), the municipality will pony up 10 million and the state 20 million more, while the rest would be paid by private enterprise through a trust fund.
The homes at the foot of San Simón hill are little more than makeshift huts made of sheetmetal or cardboard.
The mayor of Guadalupe says the statue is not a religious project, but an economic one.
The area is expected to become a tourist corridor, with the statue at its center as the main attraction. The project also entails the construction of chapels and funeral homes.
A Virgin Mary statue in the state of Puebla currently holds the world record at 23 meters, but the tallest religious statue in Mexico is the Cristo Roto monument of San José de García in Aguascalientes, measuring 28 meters in height.
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is supreme in the Americas at 38 meters.
Source: El Universal (sp)