Prague 5 plans leisure area for Vidoule

Undeveloped land on a hill has been the center of a dispute

Prague 5 Town Hall is interested in getting land on a hill named Vidoule to create a leisure and relaxation area for the public. The land is currently in the hands of several owners, and Prague 5 authorities want to negotiate with them. The Prague 5 Town Hall also wants to stop private developers from using the land for housing, as this concept is unpopular with residents in the area as well as both Prague 5 councilors and Prague City Hall.

The leisure and relaxation area envisioned for Vidoule by Prague 5 would be comparable to what is at Ladronka in Prague 6.

Vidoule is located between the Košíře and Butovice neighborhoods and is in the Košíře-Motol protected natural landscape park, which covers 450 hectares. The area that Prague 5 hopes to acquire covers some 30 hectares, according to media reports.

The proposal to acquire the land has been approved by the Town Hall, and if it is acquired it would be converted in to the property of the Prague 5 district. Prague 5 Deputy Mayor Martin Slabý (ANO) told the media that Prague 5 already has a conceptual plan for the leisure and relaxation area. He added that the natural area has rock formations that are millions of years old, and that it is an important location.

Local residents have long been fighting to protect the land. Actor Ivan Trojan has been among the people actively trying to stop the commercial development of the natural landscape. There have been petitions and an annual Run for Vidoule (Běh za Vidouli) aimed at protecting the area.

Those who favor developing the land say it is neglected, and filled will illegal dumping sites and abandoned structures.

Part of the land is the property of the Czech Ministry of Defense, and Prague 5 has already started negotiations with the ministry. The district has asked the ministry to cancel a tender for finding a buyer for unneeded assets and asked for a free transfer of the ownership of the land back to the city.

Another part of the land that would be used for the leisure center is owned by developer Ekospol, which plans to build villas and detached houses with large gardens, as well as a public park with benches and playgrounds.

Vidoule is one of the highest hills in Prague, reaching some 371 meters above sea level. The area has chalk outcroppings, and is a refuge for many types of animals, including song birds and rare mollusks. Its rocks are also filled with fossils. In 1680, the lower parts of the area were used for burials of plague victims. Caves carved in the soft rock were used by indigent people until the 1940s.

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