Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said on Tuesday he would run for re-election in the upcoming municipal polls, as he outlined ongoing and future projects aimed at improving the island’s capital.
Yiorkadjis was elected in 2011 with the backing of DISY and DIKO, beating incumbent Eleni Mavrou of AKEL.
Under his tenure there has been a revival of the old town, mainly Ledra and Onasagorou Streets, but the commercial district outside the walls – the area around Makarios Avenue – is still in decline, hit by the economic crisis and consumers moving to malls in the suburbs.
Yiorkadjis said plans were in the pipeline to overhaul the commercial triangle made up of Makarios and Evagorou Avenues and Stasikratous Street – 13 roads in total with a €28.8m budget.
Stasinou Avenue, which runs along the moat the surrounds the old town, will also get a €15.6m facelift, as will Omirou Avenue that is included in the Eleftheria Square project.
The project to build the capital’s main square was expected to finish by the end of the year but there will be a few months delay – until March 2017 – because of the sculptures and changes to the lighting, the mayor said.
The municipality also planned to repair and reopen the Municipal Theatre at a cost of €14m.
The theatre remains closed since June 2008 when the roof collapsed not long after it was renovated. No one was injured during the incident, which happened at night, but events had been staged there before the collapse.
The municipality sued the engineer, architect and contractor but the case is still dragging on.
Yiorkadjis said a hearing is scheduled for September 15 but the renovation will go ahead irrespective of the outcome.
It had been suggested in the past that the theatre could be used by parliament, which is located right next to it. The mayor said he was willing to discuss the idea, if a proposal was put forward.
Yiorkadjis said projects worth over €130m would be managed by the municipality in the five years to 2020 while an additional €68m of state-funded projects were also scheduled.
They include the creation of bus lanes and redirecting traffic to and from the centre, setting up a network of small buses to link the old town with the urban centre, and completing a bicycle lane network that will connect the universities with the centre.