Victory Park to be made more pleasant following removal of Soviet obelisk

Following the much-publicised removal of a Soviet-era monument last year, Victory Park (Uzvaras parks) in Rīga will this year receive 6 million euros' worth of investment to make it a more pleasant place to be, Rīga City Council said April 5.

This year, the name 'Victory Park' will have its 100th anniversary – it was originally given that name to mark the fifth anniversary of the Latvian army's victory over allied White Russian and German troops, though many people still wrongly assume it was something to do with the Soviet era.

The Deputy Chairman of the Riga City Council Edvards Ratnieks pointed out that after the demolition of the Soviet monument which previously dominated the park, it must now become an open space that is accessible and inviting to all residents of Rīga – landscaped a place to spend free time, relax, or do sports activities.

The municipality plans to combine two ideas – a park accessible to all residents, but also with its original historical significance restored.

The improvement concept of Victory Park provides for works to be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, it is planned to create a scenic part of ​​9 hectares, installing more than 100 new benches, placing children's play and exercise equipment, and planting around 1,500 trees and shrubs.

Pedestrian and bicycle paths with a total area of ​​9,100 square meters will be built in this part of the park, with a path for running as well.

Also, a new skateboard track will be built in the park and a 1-kilometer long track for skiing and roller skating will be built.

It is expected that the improvement of the scenic part of the park will be completed by November 11 of this year at a cost of 6 million euros.

In 2024, the improvement of the park is planned to continue, with the creation of active recreation areas including sports pitches, as well as a concrete skateboarding area and a children's water playground.

Riga City Council said in a statement to the media that although there have been public proposals to build a stadium or concert hall in place of the demolished monument, according to the SKDS survey commissioned by the municipality, 64% of Riga residents support the plan to restore and improve the park.

The obelisk of the Soviet monument was toppled on August 25, 2022. The total dismantling of the giant monument ensemble has not yet been completed.

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