A €40 million action plan aimed at revamping Nicosia’s walled city was presented on Monday which will provide incentives for young families to move into the area and grants for businesses.
The presentation took place at the Presidential Palace. with President Nicos Anastasiades, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides and the city’s mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis.
“The move is part of the important government goal to revitalise, remodel and modernise the historical centre of Nicosia,” said an announcement after the presentation.
“A series of targeted actions and projects will be implemented in order to change the face of the capital.”
The action plan follows upgrades for several landmarks in Nicosia, such as the completion of Eleftheria Square, the town hall and of the bus station in Solomou Square, the creation of parking spaces and the improvement of sidewalks.
The plan would also target young families by offering incentives to buy property in the capital’s centre as part of a broader government plan worth €116 million.
“The action plan is a result of lengthy consultations among several parties involved, such as the capital’s municipality, the University of Cyprus, the church and technical services Etek.”
Nicosia residents were also asked to provide their ideas and opinion through public polls.
Nouris called the historic centre of the capital “in dire need of restoration” and said the challenges faced to improve the area are bigger compared to other cities in Cyprus and abroad due to the Turkish invasion in 1974, which split Nicosia.
“I will not dwell on the challenges, because we are already experiencing them,” Nouris said. “Instead, I will focus on the actions required in order to solve the situation. Actions that require continuity and consistency.”
Nouris said his views are shared by Anastasaides and by the entire cabinet, adding that for years he pushed for restoration works in the walled city with the Nicosia municipality.
One of the main points of the action plans involves promoting a grant scheme for enhancing entrepreneurship in old Nicosia, aimed at attracting or upgrading new businesses in the area.
Nouris said the grant scheme, which was laid out in cooperation with the finance ministry, will be formally announced on May 2, but revealed that the total budget allocated to the specific project will amount to a total of €10 million, with a limit of up to €80,000 per individual application. The scheme will be open until 2026.
He added that, in cooperation with the police and the justice ministry, new plans are also being studied to make central Nicosia safer for the public. In addition to that, the walled city will also host new administrative buildings for the transport, justice and interior ministries.
The Nicosia municipality also hailed the new action plan, calling it “a culmination of long-standing joint efforts and cooperation among the finance and interior ministries and the capital’s municipality.”
It said the plan will create the conditions for further development of the capital’s historical centre, after several landmarks were revamped in recent years.
Among them, the upgrade of Paphos and Famagusta gates, the installation of LED lighting along the Venetian Walls and the implementation of flood barriers on historical streets of the walled city.