Olympic Village future unclear

The labor minister told Kathimerini yesterday that he is unwilling to take over control of the Olympic Village, built for the Athens Games in 2004, because it is riddled with problems. Savvas Tsitouridis, who returned to the Cabinet in the recent reshuffle, said that he was troubled by the poor workmanship at the site and was concerned about the delay in finding someone to take over the contract for the village’s International Zone. «There is no way I will sign for the Olympic Village as long as it is in its current state,» the minister told Kathimerini. Tsitouridis visited the village, near Menidi in northeastern Athens, last week with representatives from the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK) to inspect the work taking place to make the village ready for deprived families who have been allocated housing there. OEK was responsible for holding a lottery that decided which families would move into some 2,300 apartments in the village. About 500 more properties have been allocated to local residents and families with special needs. Residents started moving into the village – which housed athletes, officials and coaches during the Athens Olympics – last November. Some 130 families have moved in so far and the process is expected to be completed this summer. The Olympic Village comprises 366 apartment blocks and covers some 124 hectares. It was completed just in time for the Games in August 2004, with builders sweeping away the remaining rubble as athletes moved in. The village cost around 270 million euros to build but despite the praise it received from visiting athletes and journalists, it has been fraught with problems since the Olympics. Tsitouridis’s stance now raises the question of who will be in charge of the village when all the work to build amenities and make the site suitable for families is finished. A management company is currently responsible for the site but under law ownership will pass to the local Municipality of Acharnes when the work ends.

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