Half a million euros are being budgeted in converting the old dog track and velodrome of El Tirador in Palma into woodland.
The investment, to come from financing under the capitals’ act (whereby capital cities of regions receive specific funding), will, according to Antoni Noguera, the deputy mayor for the model of the city, break with the trend of creating “cement carpets” and instead provide a space for walking, running and cycling.“We are talking about the recuperation of an emblematic part of the city and of a serious and well thought-out project.”

The half a million euros is, as yet, a provisional amount to be spent in 2016 on an area that will include indigenous trees that grow rapidly, such as pines. Work is expected to start on the project in September, once priorities are established and approved for the two sites. Ultimately, the cost could rise to between two to three million euros.

The whole area is 34,000 square metres in size - 19,000 of these are the velodrome and 15,000 the one-time dog track. As much as possible of the first will be a green zone, while the second will be within a green area of protected buildings. Of current facilities, only the velodrome track and the building designed by Gaspar Bennassar will be preserved, with the latter to next year become the headquarters for the Ponente district.

Noguera hopes that more financing will come along in 2017 in order to develop further phases of the project, continuing and connecting the so-called green wedge of natural areas in Can Valero and Establiments and the Sa Riera park and the centre of Palma.

The project’s co-ordinator, the urban planning director Francisco Cifuentes, adds that there has long been a call for such green development and that the green zones will, in addition to having continuity, offset the effects of “heat islands” in the city. The idea is that more urban parks will help to reduce the maximum temperatures in the city during the summer. Apparently, the lack of parkland prevents the tarmac on the roads and pavements from cooling down at night while higher temperatures lead to the greater use of air-conditioning systems and so a greater emission of CO2.

A further area that has been earmarked for the green wedge is the military club of Es Fortí, right next  to the velodrome, but there is, as yet, no agreement on its conversion into a green zone.

The El Tirador velodrome dates to 1903. It was officially opened in August of that year during the city’s annual fiestas.