NEWS

City to take over central gardens

Responsibility for the capital’s neglected National Gardens is to pass from regional authorities to the municipal council following a decision by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni said yesterday. She added that the municipality would cooperate with the Interior Ministry on the management and upkeep of other public areas in the city center, such as the hills of Strefi and Ardittos. The PM’s decision came in response to a request by Bakoyianni, who was elected to office last October. «I believe this is an historical decision,» Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis told journalists after a meeting with Bakoyianni yesterday. «I am certain that the municipal authorities will respond to such a major issue… while we will do all we can to achieve an agreement that will fully secure the developments and prospects of this major green area.» The 9-hectare central National – former Royal – Gardens have been under the responsibility of the Attica regional authority for the past six years, during which time little has been done for their maintenance.