Košice plans to build a new city centre. A similar plan took half a century in Scotland

New centre should be located near railway station.

(Source: TASR)

An unused area, neglected greenery and a river: this is the geographical centre of Košice, the second biggest town in Slovakia, located close to the historic centre, as well as railway station.

The municipality plans to build a new city centre in this location. The city management has already announced an international urban tender for this area measuring approximately 300 hectares, close to the Hornád River, bordered by the railway station, Rampova and Palackého Street and Prešovská Road.

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The city would like to obtain a solution to higher facilities for citizens, housing, social services, relaxation, sports and greenery, as well as taking the location of the area into account, the regional daily Korzár reported.

“We would like to integrate services and state institutions,” mayor Jaroslav Polaček said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “In several years, we will see a new town, buildings, sport places, parks, spaces for state institutions, for everyone who wants to live in Košice and use our services.”

Mayor Polaček said that two years of work preceded the opening of the call. He has already negotiated with the interior minister, the transport minister and health minister about the project supposed to change the face of the city in the upcoming decades.

Old idea

The new centre of Košice should consist of offices, a new hospital, housing, business and possibilities for sport. Municipality also talks about service for people commuting to Košice.

The mayor said that the zone, when simplified, is divided into quarters, one quarter owned by the city, another region owned by the third state, and the rest owned by private owners. The city expects cooperation from them.

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The mayor noted that representative of the director of the Monuments Board in Košice, Radoslav Mokriš, inspired him regarding a new city centre two years ago.

Mokriš said that thoughts on expanding the city centre were firstly mentioned by the end of the 1960s.

“The time has finally come. It requires the braveness of the city management to start such a big project,” Mokriš said, as quoted by Korzár daily. “For years, it was postponed because we were overwhelmed by minor problems or partial solutions. There were no conceptual solutions.”

Inspiration in Scotland

Mokriš is counting on decades until the new borough emerges. He offers comparison with the new city centre in Edinburgh, which is the oldest.

“When the railway was built in 1880, the city council said that the historic centre was not large enough and built another one on the other side of the railway,” he explained. “In their case, it took the next 50 to 70 years.”

Mokriš said that the city could make the area accessible via bridges and infrastructure. “We were used to weeds growing here, only a few steps away from the city and 500 metres away from Saint Elisabeth Cathedral,” he said.

The municipality claims that in terms of area, it is currently the biggest international tender. The results should be known by the end of June 2022. It will be approximately four months before the municipal elections.

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