More plans to make Goudi an active park

It could be the most interesting and active park in the country and one of the most important in Europe, think the City of Athens, the municipalities lying at the foot of Mt Hymettus, the Organization of the City of Athens and the city’s National Technical University (NTUA). It is a view not shared by Panathinaikos sports club, while the Ministry of the Environment, Planning and Public Works (YPEHODE) wavers between flirting with the idea of allowing the building of a football stadium there and leaning toward the idea of a municipal park. The fate of Goudi municipal park, the largest (450 hectares) green space within the city of Athens, still hangs in the balance given Panathinaikos’s insistence on building a stadium there. But Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis’s position, as recently stated to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, was equally clear. The Athens team’s stadium will be built at Elaionas in western Athens to spur a makeover of the whole area while Goudi will become a metropolitan park. The park proposal has been studied by dozens of academics, scientists, surveyors and special advisers and approved by all the municipal councils bordering the park as well as the Organization of the City of Athens. Apart from extensive green spaces, the NTUA proposal foresees the creation of: 1. A Fine Arts Center in the park’s north at the four twin motor pool buildings with a total surface area of 1,250 square meters each, and which were built around 1900. The buildings would be renovated and used to house permanent and temporary exhibitions (around 5,000 square meters). The central open-air space will be turned into an area that can host musical exhibitions, plays, and sculpture exhibits. 2. A Museum of Military History and Technology at the former army bakery, which retains much of its equipment. 3. An Environmental Center focusing on the Ilissos River and the streams of Attica, in a single-story army depot in the riverbed. 4. Educational and Exhibition Gardens/Plant and Outdoor Recreation Center on a 5-hectare site between the Ilissos and the Geniko Kratiko Hospital and straddling the municipality’s plant nursery and an expanse owned by Greek Public Real Estate that has been donated to the University of Athens. The proposal provides for a central square, with games and recreational areas, sculptures for children, climbing walls and a hot-air balloon. 5. A Museum of Children’s Toys in the park’s southern section, near the Children’s Hospital, in the former war materiel buildings. 6. An Exhibition and Conference Center in the Police Academy building. 7. Sports parks. Low-impact and small in scale, and set in green areas, these will be accessible to the general public. 8. A Welfare and Social Support Center, which will be housed in the former girls’ reformatory.