Resident fears over park plan

Residents of the Athens neighborhood of Akadimia Platonos which takes its name from Plato’s Academy, the ruins of which are on display in a local park, have expressed serious concerns about a decision by the City of Athens to press ahead with public consultations about the regeneration of the run-down area, fearing that a hasty approach will not give locals enough time to vet the plan to ensure it does not lead to further development. Some representatives of a committee of residents in Akadimia Platonos have reportedly expressed concerns that the so-called town-planning redesign study for their neighborhood will encroach on the archaeological park in the area and lead to more rather than less construction. «We have some very serious questions about the proposed modifications to the town plan,» Athina Mertzelou told Kathimerini. «Why is a plan being promoted that would result in the reduction of the expanse of the archaeological park and why does the plan include no specific provisions for the creation of new green spaces?» she added. Officials at City Hall insist that their proposed study proposes interventions, including the creation of pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes, that would improve the quality of life of residents in Akadimia Platonos. «The plan also foresees the improvement of the microclimate through an increase in the creation of green spaces for the public,» Alternate Mayor Chronis Akritidis told Kathimerini. Akritidis added that residents had no reason to worry about the consultation process being rushed as talks are scheduled to continue for at least a month and the city council is not scheduled to give its approval to the final study until January next year. «After the completion of a month of talks, the final study will be drafted before being submitted for negotiation,» Akritidis added. In May, residents of Akadimia Platonos had welcomed a decision to block the planned construction of a multistory building next to the ancient site. But Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros had stressed that red tape could stand in the way of a plan to revamp the area.