Bratislava is leasing out communist-era bomb shelters in a bid to keep them functioning after years of neglect.
Old Town borough authorities say they want to lease civil defence shelters that have fallen into disrepair as they have no funds for their maintenance.
“The civil defence shelters have been neglected for a long time; we have visited some of them and they are in catastrophic condition,” said Old Town Mayor Matej Vagač, as cited by the TASR newswire. “We do not have the necessary finances.”
But the move has been attacked by critics who say they should remain in local authorities' hands.
Local MP and former Old Town mayor Radoslav Števčík said such shelters were essential to the security of residents in the capital, claiming that in some states there are bomb shelters built under all public buildings.
“The approach to the renting and use of shelters needs to change dramatically,” he said.
Shelters on four streets
Some of the capital's bomb shelters built during communism have been used commercially in the past. Legendary music clubs Subclub and Účko were run out of a nuclear bunker on the Danube embankment, under Bratislava Castle. Other shelters in Bratislava are currently home to everything from tea houses to gyms.
Old Town authorities point out that shelters which have been leased out commercially have been well looked after and had produced a revenue stream for the municipality.
The Old Town is to launch a public tender for potential tenants for shelters at Karadžičova, Májkova, Medená and Vazovova streets. Interested parties should contact the local authorities by 31 July.