Uses sought for Olympic venues

Three months after the end of the Athens Olympics, the government has still to make up its mind on what to do with all the costly venues expressly built for the Games. Following a meeting yesterday with local authorities in Attica, where most of the venues were built, Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia – who, after PM Costas Karamanlis, was the government’s top Olympics planner – was only able to reiterate that the installations would «retain their public nature.» Speaking later yesterday at a conference, Palli-Petralia said the venues had been built by the previous Socialist government with nothing beyond the August 13-29 Olympics in mind. «The locations were chosen without any consideration for the venues’ post-Olympics use,» she said. «From the point of view of location, town planning, financial viability, even legislation, they were exclusively built to be used for 15 days during the Olympics.» Petralia said the government intends to transform the empty venues – most of which are still bereft of any use, even of a sports-related nature, and out of bounds to visitors – into what she called «a source for the development and upgrading of their surrounding area.» She added that proposals for the venues’ use have already started to come in. During the meeting with Attica local officials, the alternate minister said that the government would soon unveil a set of specific proposals for the future use of all the new sports facilities in Attica. She also offered assurances that local authorities will be invited to participate in all relevant planning and decision-making. The Games cost a total 8.95 billion euros, according to official figures released last month, of which 2.15 billion was spent on the venues.