Protest over plans for new museum for city of Patras

Another new museum appears to be stalled on the drawing board by various delays and difficulties. A number of protests – some rational, some less so and others outrageous – have been lodged with the Council of State over the construction of a new museum in the port of Patras, in the western Peloponnese, Cultural Capital of Europe for 2006. The latest is from the Agronomists’ Association of Patras, which wants the museum moved to another site as they claim the one in question is a biotope. Ioannis Dimaras, deputy mayor in charge of the city’s Cultural Capital program, is optimistic about the outcome of this latest protest, but makes no secret of his concern over the delays. «The museum site is next to a Phytopathology Center but there is no contact between the two properties,» said Dimaras. It is yet another headache for Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who sees time running out for the Cultural Capital and work at a standstill. The Patras museum was considered one of the certainties. No design has yet been completed for any other major project. On July 14, Venizelos went to Achaia in an attempt to reassure the public about the delays and made a number of announcements that had more to do with the organizational aspects of the program. Patras’s candidacy was announced by the minister and Patras Mayor Andreas Karavolas in 1998, but approved by the relevant European agencies just last May. Venizelos made it clear that infrastructure projects would be handled by the Patras municipality. Instead of setting up a legal entity to organize the cultural program and marketing, as was done in Thessaloniki, it was decided to make use of an existing limited liability company in which the municipality is the main shareholder. A minor share is held by the local union of municipalities. Venizelos also specified the four other major works: the renovation of the Ladopoulos industrial complex (Cultural Capital headquarters, entertainment and conference venues), an open-air theater in Asyrmatos, work on the Ayia camping site and marsh and the municipal hospital, to be converted into an exhibition and music space.

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