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The act was held on the day that the former mayor would have turned 100

Benidorm opens 'Pedro Zaragoza Orts Year' recognizing "the illusion of a town" and the man who promoted it

15 May 2022
Acto Pedro Zaragoza Orts

Following the analogy of what Pedro Zaragoza did to testify to the arrival of drinking water in Benidorm in 1960, the City Council installs a stone in the fountain of Plaza de la Hispanidad

Today Benidorm has started the celebration of the 'Pedro Zaragoza Orts Year', which commemorates the centenary of the birth of the legendary mayor of the city in the 50s and 60s of the last century, in whose mandate the foundations were laid of the modern city linked to tourism and vertical urban planning. Coinciding with the day on which he would have turned 100, this morning a simple but symbolic act was held in the Plaza de la Hispanidad, which was attended by the four children of Pedro Zaragoza and other relatives and which was presided over by the mayor, Toni Pérez.

An act that has brought together the Municipal Corporation and representatives of civil society, and in which the national deputy Agustín Almodóbar has also participated; and the regional and provincial deputies, Manuel Pérez Fenoll and José Ramón González de Zárate; representatives of the State Security Corps and Forces; the Queens of the Festes Majors Patronals, Aila Merenciano and Chloe D'Hebboudt, together with their courts of honour; the Comissió de Festes Majors Patronals and the Comissió de Festes de San Isidro, a festival linked to the Huerta and which celebrates its big day today.

The first act of the 'Pedro Zaragoza Orts Year' has served as a tribute "to the illusion of a people" and to the man who promoted it. Precisely the inscription 'To the illusion of a people' prays on the stone that has been placed in the bed of the fountain in the Plaza de la Hispanidad, thus drawing an analogy with the stone that the mayor of Zaragoza himself placed in the fountain in the Park from Elche to testify to the arrival of drinking water in Benidorm in February 1960. That stone, which is still submerged in the Elche Park fountain, contained the phrase that Pedro Zaragoza himself chose for the occasion, “Illusion is also lived ”, linked since then to the Benidorm collective imagination to remember an event as significant for the town as the bringing of the water.

The mayor has given the relatives of Pedro Zaragoza a replica of the stone with the inscription 'To the illusion of a people'. On behalf of the family, Quico Zaragoza, son of the honoree, thanked "the mayor and the Municipal Corporation" for the unanimous decision to commemorate the 'Pedro Zaragoza Orts Year', which will last until May 14, 2023. Quico Zaragoza, He has glossed the figure of his father, with whom he also shared professional activity, and has advanced that the family will actively participate in all the events that are held throughout this event.
For his part, Toni Pérez has advanced that “we are going to have a very intense year”, which will make it possible to “deepen the person, in that familiar and Benidorm Don Pedro; in the ups and downs prior to his inauguration as mayor and those after he left the Mayor's Office in 1966”. And above all, this event will allow us "to meet the Pedro of the great works, both material and immaterial, which were his great legacy to this new Benidorm that began to be built around a clear idea and clairvoyance that he knew how to raise like a flag and cause all the people to follow after him.”

The mayor has highlighted that Pedro Zaragoza was "a great public servant" who "always had Benidorm as a north" and who became "a reference for municipalism". Toni Pérez has recognized the great merit of "carrying the message of a city like ours wherever it went, even overcoming borders to be international".

"Don Pedro -he has continued- is an icon, he is part of our essence and our history", being the promoter of Benidorm's turn towards tourism, modernity and high-rise urban planning; an action that accompanied the deployment of an innovative promotion and marketing strategy at the time and that placed the town on the vacation map of millions of Spaniards and Europeans.

Toni Pérez has explained that the choice of the place for the opening of the 'Pedro Zaragoza Orts Year' has not been accidental. The intersection of the Plaza de la Hispanidad with the Avenida del Mediterráneo has been chosen, as "the neuralgic centre where Don Pedro could see his vision materialized of what would be that great Benidorm that was born from his inauguration".

Finally, he has remarked that 'A la illusion de un pueblo' comes at a time of "joy" for "having left behind" the difficulties of the pandemic and its harsh consequences "; at a time of "regaining strength and energy to continue being Benidorm".