Lycabettus Hill and Omonia Square receiving major upgrades to attract more visitors 

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Athens' Lycabettus Hill, an iconic landmark on the Athens landscape, and Omonia Square in the city centre are undergoing a major overhaul designed to make it safer and more attractive to visitors and local residents, the City of Athens announced on Thursday.

The work on Lycabettus Hill are scheduled to begin immediately and estimated to take roughly 18 months, while the entire project is budgeted at 1.5 million euros, based on plans drawn up by the previous municipal administration.

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis announced that he will ask the Public Properties Company to make a concession of the 3.5 hectares that it owns on Lycabettus Hill (out of a total of 44.2) to the municipality so that the latter can press ahead with its plans for a comprehensive makeover.

Athens Marble Sea of Houses 2048x1367
*Omonia Square

"Our aim is to hand over the Athens' citizens and all its visitors an area for living and doing activities, but also a natural organisation for the production of culture," Bakoyannis said. Along with the land given by the Public Properties Company, the municipality will complete the project to create an urban forest of "unique beauty and usefulness", not only for Athens but all of Attica, he added.

Among the planned works is the pilot implementation of innovative, anti-flooding techniques that use aesthetically pleasing and gentle, ecological materials, as well as the laying of special tarmac on a road running through the woods for about 1,700 metres, so that it blends harmoniously into the landscape and provides full anti-flooding protection. Other plans include refurbishment of footpaths and walking routes, covering about 3.0 km, that connect sites on the Hill.

Bakoyannis has also promised the city’s residents that by Christmas the city’s central Omonia Square will open to the public, cleaner and safer than ever before thanks to an ongoing municipal overhaul program.

Speaking on SKAI, Bakoyannis said the municipality would be channelling 40 million euros into walkways, 42 million euros into road works, and added that 150 sensors would be installed at pedestrian crossings for the disabled and mobility impaired which will notify police if vehicles are illegally parked there.

Besides the cleaning, lighting, and road works, the mayor promised a new and improved Omonia Square.

“Omonia is a landmark, it’s alive again, and we have lots of work to do,” Bakoyannis said, adding that in the coming months at least 10 hotels will be opening in the Omonia area, with over 2,000 rooms.

We must proceed with “not a decade’s, but a century’s” worth of works, said Bakoyannis, referring to the city’s redevelopment program.

In order to meet the increased workload, Bakoyannis also announced the opening of 300 new positions with the municipality and the purchase of new equipment as well as the repair and cleaning of 18,000 Athens water drainage structures.

*Main source: GTPHeadlines