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Politics

Athens’ Mayor Wants Business Clusters to Help Grand Walk Prosper

July 26, 2020

ATHENS –  The widening of sidewalks in the heart of Greece's capital to make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists get around in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic needs more businesses there as well, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis said.

He said the city is looking at developing business “clusters” in the capital as part of a scheme to help local businesses recover after a long lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus and  many people reluctant to take public transportation.

The so-called Grand Walk has provided more space for people who walk to walk through the center of the city that is normally overrun with cars and other vehicles competing for the same space.

Meeting business owners, Bakoyannis – trying to also beautify the city with a renovated Omonia Square that has a fountain back – revealed the findings of a study targeting six areas where the development of such clusters is regarded as the most beneficial, said Kathimerini.

The areas are the wealthy enclave of Kolonaki for its clothing retailers, bars and eateries, Omonia for its specialist food stores, Plaka-Monastiraki for its folk art stores and tavernas, the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia for its bookshops and cafes, the so-called commercial triangle for its leather goods retailers and restaurants, and Patission-Kypseli for its clothing stores and eateries.

“This is not just a revamp but a product we can use,” Bakoyannis said, adding that the idea is not to turn the center into a theme park but to oversee the development of existing businesses, the paper said.

It was unclear how clusters would function, but business representatives reportedly welcomed the idea as long as access to the city center for citizens and tourists is secured.

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