Another renovation of Athens’ central Omonia Square, which went from having trees and grass and a fountain to being a filthy, cement pit and a den for thieves, pimps, prostitutes, drug users and criminals will drag on through the summer, upsetting businesses there.
The work was announced in January and has seen the oval center, which is surrounded by a traffic rotary, closed off with a metal wall at the height of the tourist season, with businesses complaining that crime is rising.
Typical for Greece, the works have been delayed for months with installation of street lighting and other plans including replacing the cement that makes the area inside the rotary a baking area, with cooler pavement.
The city also said that there will be the return of a seating area and the return of fountains. When it was announced, then Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said, “We will proceed with the necessary revamp works with the use of environmentally-friendly materials,” and that the area – two blocks from City Hall – would also be safer.
The restoration project will also include repairs to the square’s waterproofing system and upgrades to drainage infrastructure but there was no explanation why it’s dragging on with few signs of progress.
In 2012 – when there was still another previous renovation, Kaminis said, “The big challenge, however, is to bring people back to the center; not only as visitors but also as residents,” but it just got worse and is a favored spot for male refugees and migrants forced into prostitution to find their clients.