Facade Renovation in Kaunas Is Gaining Momentum: 50 Buildings Will Soon Be Wearing a New Outfit
This year, another 50 scruffy structures having the status of cultural heritage will disappear from the map of grey and shabby buildings in Kaunas. This year, for the facade renewal programme that gave impetus for the revival of Kaunas central part last year, the city allocated 1 million euros to be provided to Kaunas residents who choose to renew their buildings.
“Last year, in two calls we received 40 applications. This year that number increased by almost a third to 63. This fact demonstrates the building owners’ increased desire to contribute to the creation of more beautiful Kaunas. We advised about 300 interested persons in total,” said Saulius Rimas, Head of the Division of Cultural Heritage of Kaunas Municipality.
Working group after examining the applications received selected 50 projects with a total work funding estimate of 1.08 million euros. The Municipality contribution to works of each facade will amount to 50 percent of the entire estimate. The building owner will have to take care of the remaining part.
“Carrot and stick principle that we applied to the owners of abandoned buildings last year is paying off. I would like to thank everyone who contributes to the creation of more beautiful Kaunas. And I am happy that the carrot is used more often than the stick,” said the Mayor of Kaunas Visvaldas Matijošaitis.
Will Change Beyond Recognition
The J. Lapėnas House in Kęstučio Street stands out among the biggest projects which are planned to be financed this year. It is intended to allocate 60 thousand euros for the renovation of the facade and balconies of this building. The Sugihara House should receive the monetary injection of 65 thousand euros which will be used for the exterior of the building. This year the owners of the buildings standing anywhere in the city were able to submit applications, however, the major part of the city support will be laid on the walls of buildings standing in the centre of the city.
Buildings of cultural heritage standing in Laisvės Alėja, Vilniaus, Gedimino, V. Putvinskio, A. Mickevičiaus, M. Valančiaus, and other streets will also receive the city support. The final list of funded objects will be approved by the City Council holding its meeting on 23 May.
Response to the Critics
From this year, the programme is complemented by the possibility for building owners to install decorative lighting. In addition, all cultural heritage sites and cultural heritage buildings located anywhere in the territory of the city of Kaunas were eligible for support.
“First of all we are delighted by so great number of applications. Within this year Kaunas will become even more beautiful. Sleeping Beauty has not only awoken, but also has her makeup done intensively. We are particularly pleased that soon we will see a renewed Sugihara House which is annually visited by about 17 thousand Japanese tourists. This programme is good response to all the critics. Show me another municipality which takes such care of the heritage and allocates such amount of the funds,” said Vice Mayor Simonas Kairys who led the working group of the Heritage Management Programme.
According to S. Rimas, experts assessing the applications carefully examined the draft estimates. If the suspicion arose that the amount requested is too high, the building owners were asked to reduce it according to real market prices. Building owners who have received the support will be required to complete works by the end of this year. In 2016, 400 thousand euros were allocated to the special programme from the city budget. Then the owners of 17 buildings, having the status of cultural heritage building, took advantage of the city support.