The main public park in the Athens municipality of Nea Filadelfia will be getting a much-needed facelift thanks to an initiative by local and regional authorities.
The 800,000-euro project bankrolled by the Attica Regional Authority is expected to include the planting of 1,500 trees and 3,700 shrubs, the demolition of a small defunct zoo and improvements to walking paths and public seating areas.
The Nea Filadelfia park is a 42.3-hectare wood that was created in 1914-15. Most of its trees were cut down for firewood during the Nazi occupation and the park was replanted in 1948 and then again in 1965-66. In the years that followed, however, a good chunk of the original park was encroached on by illegal construction, including a cafe that had been slated for demolition but was legalized in 2012 by the Environment Ministry.
The park had a zoo from 1985 to 1997, which in its last years was used to host sick or seized animals.
The last significant planting drive took place in 1994-95 and while new trees and shrubs are added every year, this is done only to a limited extent. Recent budget cuts have also taken their toll, especially on maintenance.