Experts say that heritage objects must be restored in the Ąžuolynas plot planned for cars

“The initial project that could be implemented, submitted for consideration, alternatives and everything else should include not only the function of building engineering infrastructure and parking, but first and foremost what is needed for public needs – preservation of cultural heritage, its restoration, preservation of natural values, conservation of greenery. “Vidmantas Bezaras, Director of the Cultural Heritage Department, said at the Seimas committee meeting on Wednesday.

He said he was alarmed by the information that had come out about the planned 1950 parking spaces and stressed that the location could not be turned into a plain square under current law.

Offers to take over as a natural heritage site

Experts, municipalities, representatives of the public and members of the Seimas gathered at the joint meeting of the Seimas Environmental Protection and Culture Committees to clarify the basis on which the municipality decided to take over the plot interfered with the protected area.

Conservative chairwoman of the Environmental Protection Committee Aistė Gedvilienė pointed out that the municipality takes over one of the cases provided by law and agreed that the list of cases when it is possible to do so is limited, but stressed that the object can be taken over for natural and cultural heritage protection.

“In my personal opinion, with regard to the situation of Ąžuolynas, this plot and objects in it should be taken over on such a basis and not taken over, not thinking about how to build something there,” said the Member of the Seimas.

Encouraging the public to take the plot into the common territory of Ąžuolynas after the takeover, the representatives of the municipality state that the possibilities to take over the plot for public needs are limited, and concrete decisions on what will be done on the plot will become clear only after the process.

The Seimas committees prepared a proposal for the municipality to take over the plot for public needs, but not for the car park, but for the protection of natural and cultural objects, to initiate an environmental impact assessment and to provide alternative car plans for parking.

Photo of Kaunas City Municipality / Plot 4 of Vydūno Alley, where a parking lot is planned

The plot is a part of the cultural value complex

According to the representatives of the municipality, Vydūno al. Land plot 4 is not included in the territory of Ąžuolynas: it is a separate commercial plot. However, heritage conservationists emphasize that, nevertheless, the plot falls into the territory of Ąžuolynas as a cultural value, and it contains protected objects.

Vaidutė Ščiglienė, Chairwoman of the State Commission for Cultural Heritage, called on the municipality to prepare impact assessments for this site, as it is close to a protected area and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The municipality is taking a contradictory strategy: on the one hand, it supports the nomination, on the other hand, it plans the work possibly without impact assessment of the solutions. While the nomination is being evaluated, it may discredit the application internationally, ”warned V.Ščiglienė.

She argued that an environmental impact assessment would help prevent these threats and proposed that the CRD declare the site a state protected area.

“It simply came to our notice then. Because what the municipality said, the plot falls into the territory of value and there are valuable properties there, ”V.Ščiglienė emphasized.

V Bezar stated that there are two objects to be preserved in the said plot that need to be restored: a sculpture and the remains of a conservatory. The CRD has submitted conditions to the municipality for the management of this plot, which state that these values ​​should be preserved and conditions created for their restoration.

“According to the CRD, the site (…) is valuable both naturally and culturally, and its geographical location and historical development seem to call for the restoration of the conservatory complex built in 1930, which could be adapted to society,” the department said. guide.

The municipality promises to detail the decisions later

Representatives of the municipality who attended the meeting emphasized that so far only the need to take over the territory has been accepted, and all concrete decisions will start only after the initiation of procedures and in the course of coordination with the public.

Kaunas Deputy Mayor Andrius Palionis, presenting the plans of the municipality at the meeting, emphasized that the territory never belonged to Ąžuolynas, and around 1993, the plot was privatized, later its owners changed. Currently, the buildings on the site are managed by the company and the site is state-owned.

A.Palionis emphasized that parking lots are actually installed in that territory even now, therefore the city relied on this fact as a basis for taking over the territory. He gave as an example the site next to the Pažaislis monastery ensemble, which is all green and surrounded by nature.

“What is the next step after this decision of the council, which does not decide how or how much the parking would be, but simply resisting the current situation on the site, it will have to follow a detailed plan of the site, which takes into account both cultural heritage and environmental requirements , plus the procedure of coordination with the public is in the stage of preparation of a detailed plan, ”Kaunas Deputy Mayor emphasized.

Then it is planned to perform an independent valuation of the property in the territory, after which Kaunas Council will reconsider the redemption of buildings and other solutions.

Aims to take over car parking

Last week, the Kaunas City Municipal Council approved a proposal to take over a plot of land in Ąžuolynas and install a parking lot in it.

It was decided that the plot in Vydūno al. 4 would be recognized as necessary for the construction of cars and would be taken for public use. It is planned to install up to 1,950 parking spaces in the 3.3 ha territory enclosed in the Oak.

According to Kaunas public figures who initiated the petition for the preservation of Ąžuolynas integrity, Ąžuolynas Park with its surrounding environment is a unique area, therefore the planned large parking lot will have a negative impact on both valuable cultural and natural values ​​and the health of surrounding residents and visitors.

About 770 oaks grow in Ąžuolynas Park, and the most unique value of this park is 100–300-year-old oaks with a trunk diameter of 100–160 centimeters.

This park is home to one of the rarest beetles in Lithuania and Europe – the dark-colored beetle – and is also protected as a European ecological network Natura 2000 site.

It is estimated that the habitat of the Oak may be several thousand years old. In 2005, 59 species of birds were registered in the territory of the park during nature diversity research, 29 bird species were included in the lists of globally endangered species in Europe.

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