Athenian squares to be refurbished with private sector funds

When there’s no money, there are ideas. In its efforts to boost its ambitious plans for revamping the facades of the capital’s buildings, the Municipality of Athens is looking toward the private sector. So far, the experiment seems to be working, with 15 of the city’s principal squares set to acquire a new look. This is due to the fact that 15 local companies accepted Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis’s invitation to finance the renovation of the facades of all the buildings overlooking the squares. Besides offering well-deserved revamps, the program’s success goes beyond aesthetics. Above all, it sets new standards of civic behavior, pointing toward a sense of shared responsibilities and the business world’s participation in the way the city presents itself. The program was recently unveiled by the mayor of Athens herself, who presented the novel idea to various business groups. In her foreword, included in the information handbook given to the candidate sponsors, Bakoyannis noted that the program’s success is based on everybody’s participation. She added that in this kind of effort, it was important to work with all of the capital’s citizens as active participants, especially the businessmen, the people who safeguard the city’s financial life. Following are the 15 city squares scheduled to get a revamp (in parenthesis is the budget for each work): Gyzi (294,500 euros); Vathis (215,000 euros); Madrid, situated behind the Hilton Hotel (148,500 euros); Aghios Thomas (290,000 euros); Orthodoxias (220,000 euros); Academias Platonos (205,000 euros); Amerikis (330,000 euros); Dexamenis (110,000 euros); Pangratiou (140,000 euros), Ious in Kato Petralona (144,000 euros); Ergaton Polemiston in Lambrini (200,000 euros); Victoria (379,000 euros); Machis Analatou in Neos Cosmos; Kypseli (409,400 euros), and Athanassiou Kanellopoulou on Panormou Street (186,000 euros). As a gesture of good will and in appreciation of their efforts, the Municipality of Athens will secure extensive publicity for each sponsor. This coverage will be evident in situ, at every single square undergoing refurbishment work, through the use of advertising billboards, for instance. The companies will receive publicity even after the works are completed.