MAJOR upgrading work in the centre of Paphos is on track to be completed in time for the town’s title of European Capital of Culture 2017, according to the municipality.
Paphos Mayor, Phedonas Phedonos, has asked residents and business owners to be patient and bear with the municipality, as currently great swathes of the centre of the town are dug up and under construction.
Despite complaints from local businesses which are concerned that the work won’t be completed on time, a statement from Paphos municipality noted that the first steps towards the end result of a renovated Kennedy square can be clearly seen with the completion of laying a temporary road surface through the heart of the old town.
“Construction work is proceeding in accordance with the timelines set and the project in the heart of the city is expected to be completed before the end of the year, so everything is ready for the official opening ceremony of the cultural capital of Europe, which will be held on 28 January 2017 in this area,” said an announcement. “Paphos is changing and it can be clearly seen.”
It also noted that the procedures for the renaming of Kennedy Square which will take place at the end of September are already underway.
“Already, a significant number of residents, in response to the invitation of the municipality of Paphos, has submitted his proposals on the new name and will soon start the evaluation in accordance with the procedure, which has been set,” it added.
In April, Phedonos announced that the public could participate in a referendum on the renaming of a square in the town centre. He believes that the new image for the square should also have a new name, chosen by residents.
From the suggestions, five names will be put forward to the municipal council which will make the final decision.
Large parts of Paphos town are due to be being upgraded, with numerous roads being dug up, new pipes laid and other infrastructure being put in place. They are part of the ten major infrastructure and development projects currently underway in Paphos.
They have a price tag of €26.2 million and will be completed in time for 2017, when Paphos will take over the Culture Capital of Europe title, according to a spokesman for the municipality.
The mayor has faced much criticism from detractors who are complaining that many roads and pavements are inaccessible and will remain so for months, putting them out of business.
One shop owner on Makarios Avenue, one of the main shopping streets being affected said: “This is ridiculous, they should have done one area at a time and not dug up the entire town up in one go. I barely get any customers any more. Yes, the end result may be nice, but I will be out of business by then.”
He added that the ‘run down’ picture being presented of the town is being exacerbated by ongoing road works on the Tomb of the Kings Road, which although part of an entirely different project, are leaving locals and visitors angry over lengthy delays.
However, others are taking a more tolerant approach, a neighbour commented: “This needed to be done years ago and we will go through hardship now, but we will have a city to be proud of. I applaud the efforts of the mayor.”