Náplavka renovations spark dispute

Bajkazyl says waterfront shops will close, the city tries to downplay the impact

The recently announced renovation work at Náplavka may likely be more intrusive than previously stated.

Work is to take place this summer alongside Rašínovo nábřeží, where 12 cubicles set into the retaining wall will be renovated and new lighting and security measures will be installed.

The waterfront cafe and bar Bajkazyl said of Facebook it has been told it will have to close all summer, along with other shops. The city, in it own Facebook post, says the news is exaggerated — but didn’t deny some of the Bajkazyl’s key points.

The waterfront along Rašínovo nábřeží is a pedestrian walkway that is very popular in the summer with locals and tourists.

The city previously announced that the popular farmers market and other events like food festivals would not be disturbed, and the pedestrian promenade would remain accessible.

But the bar and cafe Bajkazyl, which uses one of the rooms set into the retaining wall, announced over Facebook that it and similar establishments have been informed that it will have to be closed all season. Bajkazyl caters to bike riders and offers some repair facilities as well. The name is a mix of bike and asylum.

“Closed all summer and maybe forever ++” the Facebook post was titled.

“Three days after we opened for the sunlit days, the official announcement came. Bajkazyl and all waterfront shops will be closed all summer. According to the original agreement, at least for a part of the season, Náplavka should have been available as normal to citizens and visitors of Prague. The [construction] excavators are scheduled to arrive on April 20 and work until September,” the Bajkazyl post stated.

The post went on to criticize the timing of the work, which had been planned to take place over the previous fall and winter but was delayed. Bajkazyl asked why the so-called revitalization of a very vital site could not be postponed further so fewer people would be affected.

“It seems that the political ambitions prevailed over the interests of the inhabitants and visitors of Prague. This radical change in the original renovation schedule will also seriously damage the continuity of our work and the wide range of people working with us. Enjoy at least the last few days of a free stay by the river. We are sorry, but unfortunately [the summer will be] without our cycling, music, theater, dance and children's programs,” the post concluded.

The city on the Facebook page for Praha.EU said it wanted to respond to the “absurd and unreasonable reports that are spreading unfortunately on other otherwise serious websites.”

“Náplavka will be impacted only to a minimum. The limitation applies only to three operations in the wall cubicles and one smaller space in front of them. Therefore, Náplavka will not be closed as some operators are trying to present,” The emoji-filled Praha.EU post stated, without naming the businesses affected or how long they would be closed.

“All opportunities … that can be offered to visitors will be preserved. The renovation of the cubicles we have to start now because at the end of the season a large renovation of the entire waterfront will begin. … The autumn renovation is divided into several stages, due to which Náplavka will never have to be completely closed. We thank everyone and we look forward to spending the summer on Náplavka,” the Praha.EU post concluded.

This does not, however, fully contradict Bajkazyl’s claim that it will be shut all season and perhaps for good.

Work at Rašínovo nábřeží was approved in February 2017 has been postponed due to technical delays.

The renovations will be the most extensive for the waterfront in modern history, the city previously announced.

The city says the area lacks the needed infrastructure such as benches, toilets and waste containers for the large crowds in the warm months.

The work at Rašínovo nábřeží will mainly concern the renovation of 12 rooms set into the stone retaining walls under the upper-level street. Most of these rooms have long been disused and inaccessible to the general public. Some of the rooms will be turned into cafes and galleries with glass entrances to make them more inviting. Other rooms will be turned into public bathrooms.

Bajkazyl currently uses one of the cubicles in the retaining wall.

The budget for the project is Kč 225 million, but that also includes work on Hořejší nábřeží in Smíchov, and Dvořákovo nábřeží in Old Town.

A second phase of the renovation, planned for 2019 and ’20, includes the construction of docks for boats, a floating spa, and other facilities directly on the water.

Rašínovo nábřeží runs from the Vyšehrad tunnel to the bridge Jiráskův most. It is named after economist Alois Rašín, who played a role in the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and served as a finance minister. He was assassinated by an anarchist in 1923.

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