Race starts for 2004 equestrian center

Greece’s preparations for the 2004 Olympics got a boost on Saturday after the government submitted its plans for construction of the long-delayed equestrian center to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court. Plans call for the construction of the racetrack, stadiums and bleachers in Markopoulo, on the capital’s eastern outskirts close to the Athens international airport, as well as for parking, offices, stables, a veterinary clinic, hotels and restaurants. The Council of State must approve the plans before construction can start, as it must for every large-scale project. As well as construction, the plan also designates protected areas and requires the removal and replanting of as few trees as possible. Centuries-old olive trees will be preserved in their place. In July, protesters objecting to the proposed equestrian center site clashed with construction workers. The protesters were former owners of the land who are upset over the low price the government paid them to expropriate the property. The International Olympic Committee has often complained about delays in building the equestrian center. An IOC inspection team which wrapped-up a two-day review of Athens’ preparations on Friday mentioned the center as a problem area because of missed deadlines. This is just one of several projects that have been delayed, including also three indoor sports arenas, the sailing center and a sports complex at the site of the old airport. Serious delays have also occurred in transport projects. (AP/Kathimerini) While not abandoning his demand for a greater contribution by the government, Polyzogopoulos now speaks of many possible sources of income for social security, including the free investment of auxiliary pension fund resources in the market.

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