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Greens don’t want aquarium or stadium on Letná

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The national library is not the only building on Letná opposed by Prague Mayor Pavel Bém and the majority of city representatives. Bém also doesn’t want a national football stadium there or a giant aquarium.

“Letenská pláň will once again become a central city park, whose dominant feature is greenery,” Bém promised at a meeting of Prague councillors.

But while Kaplický’s library had a big group of supporters, the football stadium and the aquarium never gained much public support. On the contrary.

The civic group Zachraňme Letnou (Save Letná), backed by local Greens, has collected some 7,000 signatures from people opposed to both planned projects. Evan former president Václav Havel joined in.

Upon receiving the list of signatures, Mayor Pavel Bém said, “The giant national football stadium is a pipe dream.”

He made similar comments about the aquarium project planned on the site, where Stalin’s monument once stood. “Right now we don’t see any way of greenlighting the project. On the other hand, we see an opportunity to greenlight greenery on Letná.”

City Hall was originally in favour

Just several months ago Prague City Hall was not opposed to these two projects. “I thought an aquarium could be quite an interesting aquarium that would bring life to the capital city in an unobtrusive way,” said Milan Richter, city councilor in charge of culture.

There were several versions for the national football stadium, ranging from an entirely new structure for 40,000 people to reconstructing the existing Sparta stadium. It was considered as one of the stadiums for the Olympics. Now City Hall doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.

“The city will not agree even to this option right now that Letná is being overburdened,” said Martin Langmajer, a councilor in charge of regional development. According to Bém, however, the Sparta stadium should be reconstructed.

“It’s a fact that Sparta’s stadium is situated on Letná and it will remain there. It’s also a fact that it is not an architectural gem. It will be necessary to invest into repairing its façade and to reconstruct it, but we can rule out that a new giant national stadium would be built here,” he said.

Letenská pláň will attract investors

The only big structure to be built on Letná will be the Blanka Tunnel, which will connect the Malovanka intersection with Trója. “The reality is that in two to two and a half years, once the construction of the city’s ring road is complete, Letná will be a much more functional and aesthetically pleasing city park,” said the mayor.

The association Zachraňme Letnou, however, doesn’t expect Letná to suddenly stop being lucrative location for developers.

“A location like Letná – a green area with just trees and no buildings in the centre of the city – will make investors restless,” said Daniel Hlaváč, chairman of the group.

Vlado Milunić, the renowned who helped design the Dancing House in Prague, wouldn’t be against construction on Letná. “I know a many people would like to see Letná undeveloped, but I can imagine a residential area of the 21st century with all the modern conveniences, culture, sports and other services,” he said.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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