APRIL 3 2012 23:35h
The urban gardens in front of Mamutica building in Travno, the area of Novi Zagreb, are being removed by the workers of Zrinjevac firm. The gardens are located on the city’s land and the aim is to transform them into a park. The City of Zagreb announced this project several years ago, but the realization has started these days. The idea is to create so-called Plava potkova (Blue horseshoe). This horseshoe form should connect the area of Novi Zagreb with the old part by creating public parks. The project involves six parks but only three of them have been created. The Mamutica park is the fourth and there are two more between Mamutica and Siget. They are called Lakun and Bracak.
Park is a public area
The citizens of Travno have different opinions. Some think that it is good to clear the area because it will improve the quality of life. However, twenty tenants who had gardens there, feel sorry. These are mostly pensioners with low pensions and the gardens helped them to survive. But they are aware that there is nothing they can do because it is the land which belongs to the city and they have been using it for almost thirty years.
- They should have informed us before. I wouldn’t have planted the potatoes. I spent 120 HRK and the potatoes would feed us for the whole year’s period – Mara Kovacevic (77), one of the gardeners, says. She also adds that they heard about the news a fortnight ago when they saw the notices from the city. Mara grew fruit and vegetables that she put into the freezer and these were enough for her and her husband.
The similar story we could hear from Novica Nikolic (80). He moved into Mamutica building in 1977. When he saw that some people were digging and planting around the building, he started doing the same. When the workers from Zrinjevac came with the machinery on Monday, they were accompanied by the police. They assumed that there would be problems, but nobody complained.
“The common gardens”
The end of the first phase is in 10 days as Mijo Markulin, the president of Novi Zagreb- East area announces. The cost of the works is about 500 thousand HRK.
- The terrain will be adjusted, the grass will be planted, and the trees will be tidied up. The Mayor will open the park on the same day when he is opening the kindergarten and the dog park nearby – Markulin said. The image of the park itself is still not known and it depends on the investor, the city of Zagreb. The vice-president of the city council Josip Kregar announced the questionnaire among the citizens of Travno. Their suggestions will be taken into account when designing the new park. He thinks that the citizens are those who deserve a new park.
- I feel sorry for those who lose their gardens, especially because they live in such a big building, but the park is the best solution – Kregar thinks.
Sasa Simpraga, the urban activist and the author of the book “Zagreb, public area” agrees that park should be created, but he also thinks that the city should find the alternative solution for the gardens.
- In other countries there are so-called common gardens where anyone can plant and even sell his products. It is important to start the initiative for the “green horseshoe”. It is important to define the future park, but it is also important to found the common city garden area – Simpraga says.