Lycabettus to benefit from 2004

Yet another long-neglected Athens landmark is to benefit from government and local officials’ hopes to prettify the city center for the benefit of foreign visitors during the 2004 Olympics, according to plans announced yesterday. Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos and the head of the National Tourism Organization’s property management subsidiary, ETA, signed a deal under which Lycabettus Hill will come under municipal jurisdiction. ETA is to spend 5 million euros on planting new trees and shrubs on the hill – which dominates central Athens’s landscape even more than the Acropolis – care for existing greenery, installing a fire-extinguishing system and refurbishing the hilltop church and other buildings. The work is meant to be finished next spring. The open-air theater will also be tidied up, with a light roof installed to allow winter shows. The city council will be responsible for the hill’s upkeep, toward which ETA, which will retain control of the theater and all commercial ventures on the hill, is to contribute 300,000 euros a year.