The plan to change Palma's Paseo Marítimo will cost some eight million euros. Mayor Antoni Noguera, previously involved with the project when he was a deputy mayor for the model of the city, has reiterated the objectives of the plan. In physical terms, the paseo will become a form of boulevard with trees and more pedestrian space. The six lanes - three in both directions - will be cut to four between the auditorium and the calle Monsenyor Palmer. In social terms, the idea is to create a space that will add value to the city and the port.
Talks with the Balearic Ports Authority have been ongoing for several months. The town hall and the authority are in general agreement about the redevelopment of the paseo, and the authority's president, Joan Gual, doesn't foresee any problem with financing the scheme. He says that between the authority and the town hall there is the financial means to meet the cost.
Both Gual and Noguera stress that this is a priority project. Gual points out that it has been a scheme which has been spoken about for "far too many years". As there is agreement, "it cannot be delayed any longer".
Noguera would like to be able to complete the project before the 2019 election. In order to do so, the town hall and ports authority are involving businesses, hoteliers and residents in adapting the seafront in a way that will "change the model of the city". Both the separate plans for the Nou Llevant area and for the port itself will also influence this change.
Gual observes that the paseo is the property of the ports authority, with the exception of a disused area which belongs to the national finance ministry. Ownership, though, is something to be talked about when the time comes. Far more important is to get on with the project so that the city's residents will benefit, as will businesses because of "clear added value".
Some sixty years ago, there was a road that linked the old port with the new one. Over time, it became a three-lane highway. In Gual's view, now is the time to end this and to genuinely establish a "paseo" or place to walk. "We made an offer to the town hall to turn it into a paseo, where people can walk and ride bikes. We've planned a green zone which will be inviting for walkers." Under this plan, he concludes, the walk with the most tourist attraction in Palma will no longer be like "a motorway".
While Gual doesn't believe there will be an issue with the financing, the former mayor José Hila, who has assumed Noguera's responsibility for the model of the city, says that there is. The town hall can't fund it, and the money should come from the State Ports Authority, of which the Balearic Ports Authority is the regional division.
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