Malaga city will spend part of its 15 million euros on improvements to Calle Carretería, and the Diputación has 10 million to spend on the area near the Caminito del Rey.
It wasn’t the day of the Christmas Lottery, and no pupils from the San Ildefonso school were singing the winning numbers, but this week Malaga province had a major windfall of millions of euros from the European Union. The funds are from the EDUSI programme for sustainable and integrated urban development projects and they will have to be spent between now and 2022. Of the total sum of 40 million euros, Malaga city will receive 15 million, Estepona ten, Nerja five, and the remaining ten million euros will indirectly benefit Antequera, Ardales, Álora and Valle de Abdalajís.
Not all applications for some of this funding were successful. No money has been allocated to Marbella, Vélez-Málaga, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Alhaurín de la Torre or Cártama, all of which had presented proposals for projects to be financed with money from Brussels. However, there is expected to be a second chance to apply at the end of this month, for a further amount totalling 305 million euros.
As part of the conditions for this funding, the municipalities whose applications were successful have to pay at least 20 per cent of the cost of the projects themselves. Work on the projects must begin before 2020 and they have to be completed by 2022.
Malaga city council had been hoping for 25 million euros, but at present it has been allocated 15 and will have to pay 3.75 million itself. However, the city hall is confident that it will be able to obtain more funding in the next few years from the surplus money from projects in other Spanish cities which were never carried out. It obtained an extra ten million euros in this way from the EU’s previous programme. In any case, these 15 million euros will enable the local authority to continue revitalising the city centre to the north, covering the area from Ollerías to Lagunillas, as well as the districts of La Trinidad, Perchel Norte and in the area of El Ejido.
Although the exact plans will be specified in the near future, one of the star projects will be making the area between Carretería and Álamos semi-pedestrianised as far as Plaza de la Merced, which will cost around five million euros. Some of the money will also be used to improve the Salamanca market, create sports facilities and a business centre in La Trinidad and build a day centre for the elderly in Plaza de la Paula, in El Ejido.
Not even the Diputación, (the Malaga provincial government), which was the only one in Andalucía to have received these funds, has obtained everything it asked for, but the ten million euros it has been granted, plus the two million from its own coffers, are more than enough to guarantee that the second phase of the Caminito del Rey (an information and visitors’ reception centre) can be carried out.
It also means that villages in that area (Antequera, Álora, Ardales and Valle de Abdalajís) will be able to enhance their prospects for tourism by regenerating their historic centres and improving the accesses to their main cultural and natural attractions.
The Diputación intends to continue with the projects which have already been planned in the area around the Caminito, at an estimated cost of 15 million euros, so it will be asking the councils to either cut the cost of their planned projects or pay the extra themselves.
In Antequera, the most important initiatives are the transformation of the road which crosses the town centre (Plaza de San Sebastián-Infante Don Fernando-Alameda), at a cost of 2.2 million euros, and improvements to La Moraleda and Cerro de San Cristóbal area (1.8 million).
Elsewhere the most important projects will include improvements to tourism facilities in Ardales, remodelling the Plaza de San Lorenzo in Valle de Abdalajís and improving the access to Álora castle.
“Thanks to this funding, we are able to invest in sustainable projects,” explained the president of the Diputación, Elías Bendodo.
Estepona and Nerja
News of the funding has also been well received in Estepona, which had applied for 15 million euros from Brussels but has been granted 10 million. The money will be used to create a river park around the Arroyo Monterroso, build a second bypass to reduce traffic congestion in the Avenida Andalucía, improve the San Luis castle and continue to remodel the most historic part of the town centre.
The mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano, said that these and other projects “will mean we can progress with a model we started five years ago and which has created a sign of identity for Estepona, making it a more competitive tourist destination with better cultural and leisure facilities and also more attractive for investors and entrepreneurs.”
Meanwhile, Nerja is to receive five million euros which, together with its own funding of 1.2 million, will allow the council to carry out projects to generate employment in Los Poetas district, improve the nearby countryside by cleaning the highest stretch of the Chíllar river, plan energy-efficient and ‘smart city’ projects and create a green zone around Burriana beach.