THE CITY of Košice will be one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2013, a distinct honour and a likely booster for tourism and economic development. But it also requires a commitment to improve the state of cultural and social life in the city. European Capitals of Culture (ECC) are designated by the European Union for a period of one year during which the cities can showcase their cultural life and cultural development. A number of European cities have used the ECC designation to transform their cultural base and change the way they are viewed internationally.
Košice Mayor František Knapík told the SITA newswire that he considers it correct and positive that the Slovak government has allocated €60 million from EU funds to the city to implement various investment projects within the ECC project. He made his comments before the opening of an exhibition of designs to improve the Kasárne/Barracks complex and turn it into a cultural and social site.
“It was crucial for Košice that the proposal and the level of support were approved without any changes. We want to introduce Košice to the EU in 2013 as a metropolis with rich culture and good infrastructure,” the major said.
The city is ready to co-finance projects with five percent of the total costs. “In coordination with the Culture Ministry, Construction Ministry and other departments, we will strive to handle all administrative tasks connected with the foundation of a priority axis and relocating financial resources from operational programmes,” Alena Vachnová of the ECC project said. The whole process should be managed within four to five months.
The total worth of the investment projects is more than €63.1 million with nearly €60 million coming from EU sources and the Košice Self-Governing Region and the city itself allocating more than €3.1 million. The most important projects include the reconstruction of Kasárne and turning it into Kulturpark, which requires €16.7 million. A reconstruction of the Košice Amphitheatre so that it can be upgraded to a festival venue is expected to cost €5 million. Other projects include: reconstruction of an old swimming pool and its complex into an artistic exhibition hall requiring €5 million; the reconstruction of City Park and the Park Moyzesova; and creating a Modrý (Blue) Park near the River Hornád. Completing the reconstruction of the city’s most important cultural monument – the Gothic St Elisabeth's Cathedral – should cost €4.2 million. The Košice Self-Governing Region has prepared two major investment projects – Ostrov kultúry (The Isle of Culture) and the Terra Incognita project.
5. Apr 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská