City center set for overhaul

An ambitious plan to regenerate the downtown Athens district known as «the historic center,» with the aim of increasing by 10 times the number of people living there, is being examined by the City of Athens. The city’s Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, has already said he plans to pedestrianize Athinas Street, which runs from Omonia Square to Monastiraki Square, but cars could also be banned from adjacent side streets under plans being discussed. The local authority has already tried closing off some roads in pilot schemes on recent weekends. The municipality wants to encourage people to live in the area, where there are numerous abandoned houses and apartments. Currently, some 50 families have their homes there but the City of Athens wants to increase this to 500. It is considering offering financial benefits to anyone returning to the center, including free parking and not charging them municipal taxes.