Ne­glected park in Athens sub­urb to be spruced up

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

The main pub­lic park in the Athens mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Nea Philadel­phia will be get­ting a much-needed facelift thanks to an initiative by lo­cal and re­gional au­thor­i­ties.

Bankrolled by the At­tica Re­gional Author­ity, the 800,000-euro pro­ject is ex­pected to in­clude the plant­ing of 1,500 trees and 3,700 shrubs, the de­mo­li­tion of a small de­funct zoo and im­prove­ments to walk­ing paths and pub­lic seat­ing ar­eas.

The Nea Philadel­phia park is a 42.3hectare wood that was cre­ated in 191415. Most of its trees were cut down for fire­wood dur­ing the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion and the park was re­planted in 1948 and again in 1965-66. In the years that fol­lowed, how­ever, a siz­able chunk of the orig­i­nal park was en­croached on by il­le­gal con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing a cafe that had been slated for de­mo­li­tion but was le­gal­ized in 2012 by the En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry.

The park had a zoo from 1985 to 1997, which in its last years was used to host sick or con­fis­cated an­i­mals.

The last sig­nif­i­cant plant­ing drive took place in 1994-95 and while new trees and shrubs are added ev­ery year, this is done only to a limited ex­tent. Re­cent bud­get cuts have also taken their toll, es­pe­cially on main­te­nance.

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