Honorary Failure: Review and Future for the Municipality of Kalamata
(First Publication: Eleftheria newspaper, August 2018)
"To modernize the coastal zone, by demolishing the warehouses in the harbor, by rebuilding the northern pavement of Navarino, with the construction of the seaside park, with extensive reconstructions from Mikri Mantineia to Pamios.
In order to continue the reconstruction with priority to the east and west of the central square, in the Heroes and the Aura, in the "Ouzakia".
To make the transfer to the new Town Hall and to allocate the municipal buildings to institutions.
To extend sewage pipes everywhere and replace asbestos pipes completely.
To make use of the Panagiotourou buildings owned by the Municipality now.
To modernize the stadium and become new sports facilities in the city and the apartments.
To construct rainwater pipes from Thouria to Neodon and south of Euripides.
To make the dream come true: Kalamata - European Capital of Culture in 2021 ".
The above could be proclamations of a newly elected public lord. Yet, it is the commitments of the re-elected - for a third term of office - Mayor of Kalamata in 2014. Four years later, while the end of his twelve-year mandate is nearing completion, only the reconstruction of the "Ouzakia" and the new Town Hall, works without a developmental dimension . Few have begun, but it is doubtful whether they will be over by next May. Certainly, a inferior performance performance.
From 2007 to today, unlike the drastic cuts in Greek finances, tens of millions of euros have flowed into the Municipality of Kalamata. Favorable political circumstances, with our compatriots in key positions of the state machine (President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Top Ministers), contributed decisively to the promotion of major infrastructure projects (perimeter, flood protection) and urban regeneration projects, mainly in the city center. The image of Kalamata outwardly improved.
Yet: Citizens in neighborhoods and villages suffocate, feeling abandoned. The gap between the center and the district of the Municipality is widening.
Unemployment and poverty are on the rise, while the flight of young and educated Kalamatians continues with unabated intensity, leading the local population to aging. Knowledge, innovation and creativity have been put on the sidelines.
All the previous years did not make any remarkable productive investment. The "cafeteria economy" dominates.
The coastal front of the city, east and west, remains untapped. Tourism is caricatured, with demand far outweighing the supply of beds. The harbor continues to function as a "ship cemetery" and the airport is unable to serve the growing streaming of foreign visitors, but bypass Kalamata, spending their money elsewhere.
Urban planning and land planning remain moving sand, with gaps in discouraging investment.
The city disclaims the heritage of the costly claim of the Capital of Culture, with the Dance Mansion opening 20 days a year.
There is no integrated civil protection planning, no crime policy - and waste management is done with half-measures, waiting for third party initiatives.
Over-aggregation and micronisation lead to applied policy.
It is a fact that the outgoing municipal authority tried, with diligence and presumed honesty, to house the municipality and improve the city's "showcase". That's why it's worth it. But it has already exhausted its potential. What he had to give, he gave it. He did not succeed in inspiring and failed to advance the developments, shaping them for the benefit of the citizens.
At a time when the post-power model of power has become ascitic and metaphorical ash, Kalamata, the first in Greece, must win its future and enter a new "oak" with a landmark in 2021 and the anniversary her 200 years of freedom and beyond. Far from pathogenesis and dependencies of the past. This is why we need a new strategic vision, a new programmatic proposal for productive reconstruction and prosperity, engaging the creative forces of the local community with a broad understanding and new municipal governance.
It is time for the silent majority of the city to come forward. The weather is in agreement. It is enough to follow the people.