Facelift for Faliron Bay seafront in the pipeline?

At long last there are signs of action on the much-delayed project of a park on the seafront of Faliron Bay. A new study has been submitted to the Athens Town-Planning Organization for approval. Once the state announces the funding methods, the project will take several months to complete. The protracted delay occurred when the project was excluded from the priorities for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Creating an area of greenery and sports facilities on the 24-hectare site in Moschato will upgrade the city’s relationship with the seafront and give a densely populated neighborhood some space. Long delay Part of a larger plan to fix up a 2.5-kilometer-long, 77-hectare area along the shore of Faliron Bay, the project was never implemented. Instead of an ecological park, a few seedlings were planted, most of which had expired before the 2004 Games were over. Since then, there has been little progress. For the first three years, nothing was done at all. The company Olympic Real Estate SA began negotiations with the Municipality of Moschato that failed and led to an exchange of bitter statements. Olympic Real Estate then announced its decision to proceed alone and assigned the implementation study. The encouraging news for Moschato is the completion and submission of the study. Barring further hitches, the work will take three to four months to complete. Olympic Real Estate estimates the cost of the park and sports fields at 35-40 millions euros, part of which (that relating to sports infrastructure) will be covered by funds already earmarked in the budget of the General Secretariat of Sports. They suggest the remaining sum should come from the public investment program. Olympic Real Estate will pay for the studies and maintain the park with revenues from the neighboring Beach Volleyball venue, which has already been leased. The proposal is for an ecological park – a classic seaside wetland with a small stream in the center and thick vegetation around the perimeter. It will be planted with drought-resistant species to minimize the need for irrigation. Another area will be designated for light, water-based, recreational activities. Artificial lakes, heated year-round by solar energy, will provide swimming facilities for all ages. A place to relax Originally the plan included a track-and-field oval, to replace the one put out of commission at the nearby Karaiskaki Stadium but that may be moved to another location at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliron as there is no appropriate space for it on the Moschato site. Instead, there might be a canteen on the site that had been set aside for the track as well as a sandy area on the shore. «The aim is to turn the area into a zone for greenery and culture, a place to relax for people who live behind the ‘wall’ of the coastal road,» Dimitris Kyriakakos, the new president of Olympic Real Estate SA, told Kathimerini. «Given that most of the seafront has dense commercial development, this part will be exclusively dedicated to greenery.» As for the other projects decided on before the Games but postponed – flood prevention channels, a lowering of the coastal road – there is no news. The Public Works Ministry must decide.