An Example of a Community-Led Economic Development Plan designed by Border Women Workers
Plan Mayachén is a development plan rooted in building on the traditional assets of the women, their families and the community (their cultural heritage, work ethic, work experience and strong sense of family) to create sustainable economies and communities.
Plan Mayachén integrates the strengths and assets of the women workers and the community to build a bottoms up development plan for the low-income rural colonias and urban barrios of El Paso County and Southern New Mexico.
It is also a development plan based on the centuries-old tradition of commercial and cultural exchange amongst indigenous communities, and later the trade routes and villages established all along the Rio Grande River.
Plan Mayachén grew from recognition of the growing Latino population in the United States and the potential of the El Paso border region to generate a national model for comprehensive economic development alternatives that target Latinos and others interested in Latino markets.
Plan Mayachén also responds to the growing U.S. demand for products, services and entertainment rooted in the Mexican heritage. Plan Mayachén has been designed to explore, pilot and build on the emerging Mexican Cultural Heritage Industry at the national level and its potential linkages to the global economy.
Thus, as a fulfillment of the sustainable communities model underscored by the Obama administration, Plan Mayachén includes :
1. Development Infrastructure
a. Community Development Patient Capital Fund (access to capital)
b. Center for Bilingual Development and Social Enterprise (adult educational and workforce development)
c. Multi media Training and Development Center (access to technology)
d. Pre-Development Funds for Next Stages of Plan Mayachén projects
2. Stepping Stones to Plaza Mayachén
a. Rayito del Sol Charter School (infant through high school education)
b. Milpa Mayapan (Urban Agriculture demonstration farm—healthy local food economy)
c. Farmers Market and Mobile Community Market stands (urban/rural interconnections)
d. Eating Healthy, Estilo Mexicano Tradicional (nutrition education and food economy)
e. Lum Metik Trading Company E-commerce center (international importing, shipping and distribution facility in collaboration with women, businesses and communities in Mexico)
f. Mercado Gardens (commercial/office units combined with affordable housing and green space)
3. Plaza Mayachén: a motor for community economic development
In a six block area central to the Chamizal neighborhood, the border and Downtown El Paso, visitors and residents will enjoy shopping and a wide variety of seasonal activities and events at Plaza Mayachén: restaurants and cafes; shops with quality merchandise from Mexico, local artists, and crafts people; a farmers’ market; bilingual exhibits, concerts, films and other recreational events; cultural celebrations; education and training activities; opportunities for applied research on Mexican heritage and the United States-Mexico border region.
By La Mujer Obrera’s providing a site for these new businesses and community activities, Plaza Mayachén will become a powerful engine for economic opportunity in South Central El Paso and an exciting location of bilingual/bicultural experiences and dialogues for the entire region.
It also will serve as a hub to catalyze sustainable community economic development through:
- business incubation (microenterprises, social enterprises and small businesses)
- job creation
- workforce training
- community access to technology
- Arts and culture showcasing Mexican heritage and history on both sides of the border
- Environmentally responsive land use and development
Its components will include:
- Mercado Central (comprehensive grocery and daily needs store, based on traditional Mexican market model)
- Mercado Popular (retail outlet and business incubator for authentic artisan products of Mexican cultural heritage produced on both sides of the border)
- Disenos Mayapan (a commercial district providing local artists, artisans, designers and light manufacturers with work space and access to markets)
- Museo Mayachén
- Plaza Cultural (an outdoors central park and performance center)
- Mayachén Performing Arts Center
- Tourism center (connecting and supporting cross border exchanges and travel)
· Facilities for producing and distributing Mayapan Label and Line of Food Products (salsas, mole, tortillas, pan dulce, etc)
Through the implementation of Plan Mayachén over the next 10-20 years, we expect the following impacts:
Investment in Land/Facility Costs: $100 million
Investment in Start-up Costs: $50 million
Revenues generated: $10 million/year
Jobs to be created: 5000
Businesses Developed: 100
Workforce Training: 300 adults/year
Education: 300 children/year ages infant through college
Community Support Services: 5,000/year
Plan Mayachén is the women workers’ blueprint for forging a future for themselves and their families, rooted in the dignity of their heritage and lives and enabling them to provide inspiration, leadership, and resources for a border-wide sustainable development.