NEWS

Hellenikon park seems to be shrinking

The biggest park in Europe that Prime Minister Costas Simitis promised in February to build on the site of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon will be considerably smaller than originally thought, according to the final version of a study commissioned from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). Over a third of the park – 210 hectares – will be occupied by Olympic venues, although the study notes that it is still unclear whether more venues will be added to the field hockey, softball, baseball and canoe slalom course centers already scheduled for construction in the park, along with two large sports halls for basketball and handball events. The study on the post-2004 development of the airport grounds, in the form of a research project undertaken by Professor Louis Wassenhoven on behalf of the Organization of Athens, proposes the construction of shops, hotels and a business park, while land will also be set aside for housing development, after the Athens 2004 Olympics. According to proposals included in the final study, a business park will be built in the northern part of the 550-hectare metropolitan park together with office development, while to the west a commercial area intended for intense development will be set up. A model housing area will take up part of the southern part, where hotels will also be built. The central portion of the park will be covered in vegetation and embellished with an aquarium, an aquatic pleasure park, a book center, a virtual reality center, concert halls and sports grounds. Few details have so far been released on the Wassenhoven study, despite the fact that it was first commissioned in 1995. Initially, it was supposed to have considered possible development of the airport area. The NTUA team was then asked to design a recreational area on the site, and in 1999 they were told to include the Olympic facilities in the overall plan. The government has said that the East Terminal building, designed by Eero Saarinen, will be turned into a conference center. Med Games. Weightlifter Leonidas Kokkas won two gold medals at the Mediterranean Games in Tunis yesterday in the 94-kilogram category, lifting 170 kilos in the snatch and 212.5 kilos in the clean-and-jerk. In the same event, Costas Garipis lifted 210 kilos, a junior record, to finish second. In the women’s Over-75-kilos category, Katerina Roditi won gold in the snatch with 107.5 kilos and silver in the jerk with 125 kilos. In the women’s 69-kilos, Maria Tatsi won gold in the clean-and-jerk with 122.5 kilos.