Hellenikon development to finance park promise

Over two years after first promising Athenians «the biggest metropolitan park in Europe» on the site of the old airport in the city’s prime-value southern suburbs, yesterday Prime Minister Costas Simitis once again announced the project, saying decisions had been «finalized.» As in February 2001, he gave no indication of when the promised park would materialize. This time, however, Simitis clarified that part of the coastal Hellenikon airport grounds would be developed, «to cover [the park’s] construction costs and to pay for upgrading depressed parts of the Greater Athens area.» He said the park itself would occupy at least 400 hectares, «nearly all of which will be covered in greenery.» It will include «recreation, cultural and sports facilities,» and a conference and exhibition center. This will be after the 2004 Olympics, during which the grounds will host five events.