Dunaújváros Joins Government’s Modern Cities Scheme To Leave Behind 20th Century
Tamás Székely 2016.06.01.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signed a cooperation agreement with the mayor of Dunaújváros, in central Hungary, under the government’s Modern Cities development initiative. Mayor Gábor Cserna said that good cooperation with local residents coupled with government support would guarantee the city’s future development.
At a press conference after the signing ceremony, Viktor Orbán said that traditional industrial cities were not a “thing of the past”. Dunaújváros, a city designated under the one-time Communist regime as a major steelmaking centre, has a future, he said. Orbán said that large development projects required government support and Dunaújváros would be helped “to become a modern industrial city”.
Under the agreement, the Hungarian government will contribute a site of 500 hectares to the construction of a logistics hub outside the city. The local university will be granted funds to finance electro-mobility research and training, while all public transport buses will be replaced by electric ones. The Prime Minister also announced a total 4 billion forints (EUR 12.7m) to refurbish roads connecting the city to towns in the area. Another billion forints will be used to convert a one-time outpatient clinic into a building to house public amenities.
A defunct aqua-park and the adjacent swimming pool will be refurbished with a budget of 3 billion forints. Meanwhile, 2.1 billion forints will be spent on the city’s water supply and 3 billion on creating a new, integrated coach and train station. Further developments will include building a new 2.9 billion forint hotel and a 2 billion forint sports hall for the local Handball Academy.
The opposition Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said in response to the announcements that “Dunaújváros has become a city of sham measures”. Local PM councillor Zsolt Szabó said that “any development funds are welcome” but stressed that a new swimming facility would “not reduce the risk of layoffs at the steel mill”. He insisted that the prime minister’s pledges would not provide a real solution to local problems.
Dunaújváros, situated 67km south of Budapest, is known in Hungary for its steelworks and heavy industry. The city was a ordinary village before the Second World War, however, the construction of a new industrial city started in 1949 and the original village of Dunapentele was renamed Sztálinváros (“Stalin City”) in 1951 by the Communist leadership. After Hungary’s anti-Soviet revolution of 1956 the new government renamed the city the neutral Dunaújváros in 1961, which basically means “new city at the Danube.”