Changes planned for Prague parks

New playgrounds, skating paths and relaxation areas should be built

Major parks in Prague are set to get improvements next year worth tens of millions of crowns. A path for skaters should be renovated in Letná and a wooden playground should be built in Obora Hvězda. Petřín should see changes near the lookout tower and in the near future access to Vítkov Hill should be improved.

Letenské sady, as Letná park in Prague 7 is officially called, has been undergoing a gradual renovation for several years. This year, some renovations took place around the western edge of the park near Hanavský pavilion. Next year, the city will renew the central part of the park that runs along the sandy area of Letenská pláň.

The main feature of the renovation will be to put new asphalt on the paths so there will be a one-kilometer circuit for skaters. More public toilets, a refreshment stand and a sporting goods rental stand are planned as well. Additional park furnishings are to be put in related areas. The cost is estimated at Kč 25 million. The city already has a zoning permit and should get a building permit during the winter.

In Obora Hvězda in Prague 6, part of the historical wall in the northern area was repaired already this year, and work on the wall should continue next year. A large children's playground should be built at the former garden of a gamekeepers' house near the Liboc gate, replacing a playground that is in a wooded area. The new playground will have wooden elements that fit the themes of the surroundings, while the old metal playground pieces will be moved to another park.

Part of the project, budgeted at Kč 15 million, includes demolishing substandard park maintenance buildings and replacing them with lightweight structures with space for park administrators and for public toilets. One structure will be transformed into a gazebo with a pergola.

Stromovka Park in Prague 7 has seen a lot of renovation over the past two years, with the artificial lakes originally built by Rudolf II being heavily repaired. The heavy equipment has taken a toll on the park's roads, and those now need to be repaired, as do some of the park's lawns. Some roads that are made of poured asphalt will be turned into compacted gravel roads, and the routes of some paths will change.

The area around the artificial lakes will become a place for relaxation, with park furniture and new plants. There will also be a reading area made with artistic benches. Implementation should take six months and will cost about Kč 45 million. These repairs should be the end of the current cycle for the park, and no extensive work is envisioned for the next 20 years. The long-planned renovation of the building known as Šlechtovka will not be jeopardized by the renewal of the paths.

In the center of Prague the area around the Petřín Lookout Tower could be redeveloped in the coming two years. A new plaza for relaxation could be built and a snack stand that many people consider unsightly could be removed. Repairs to a Calvary chapel near the tower include a total resurfacing of the area with new lawns and furnishings. A wall that separates the top of Petřín from the adjacent Strahov gardens is already being taken down to allow passage between both greenspaces.

A bit further afield, changes are being planned for Vítkov Hill in Prague's Žižkov district. The project is still in its early stages and is unlikely to start before 2018. It will be in several stages and is likely to include cooperation of both Prague 3 and Prague 8. Currently, access to the park from Karlin on the Prague 8 side is very limited. What complicates access from that side is the existance of train tracks. Underpasses and elevators are being considered, but no decision has been made.

Renovations to the park should open up areas that are currently hard to reach. The appearance of the parking lot near the National Monument should be changed, and some water features such as a fountain could be added.

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