Anger over Botanical Garden plans

The controversy began when the Municipal Office for Spatial Development announced a competition to develop the area east of Rynek Glowny near the Botanical Garden. The offices called upon interested investors to submit a range of projects for possible implementation in the area. Many local residents became enraged at the idea.Today, the area surrounding the Botanical Garden is built up with mostly tenement buildings from the end of the 19th Century and the Jagiellonian University Clinic ? its department buildings stretching along ul. Kopernika. At the end of the street is the beautiful and old Jagiellonian University Botanical Garden, which serves as a teaching aid for students and professors in field experiments. One of the plans submitted by investors suggested renting the space to build luxury apartment flats. Not surprisingly, the idea is causing a public outcry from Krakow’s residents.”We have a very old tree, about 180 years old, which is hard to find in the city center nowadays,” says Professor Bogdan Zemanek, director of the Botanical Garden.Because of their age, the trees cannot be moved and replanted. Moreover, the garden’s ecosystem would be ruined.”Many people come here in the summer, and 90 percent of them are foreigners,” says the cashier in the garden?s ticket office. “It’s a ridiculous idea to close the garden!” she insists. After the news went public, Krakow’s  Internet  forum  seethed, with some responses nearing fanaticism.”Send Krakow’s architects for mental treatment!” wrote a guest signed in as “zzz” on “Let the investors use Wawel Castle’s courtyard, there is a lot of space there!” wrote “DIFF.” “PIOR” concluded, “I will nail myself to the door not to let anybody destroy the area.”

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