Neglected park in Athens suburb to be spruced up
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.