Cluj, counties Harghita and Covasna – modernized with European funds

After more than 20 years, while Transylvania has not undergone any major transformation, the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism has obtained European funding needed to modernize the city of Cluj and counties Harghita and Covasna.
The metropolitan area of Cluj will benefit of a cycling infrastructure. The new infrastructure being part of the “bike rental, self-service stations network” will be funded by sources obtained through the Regional Operational Program. The cost of this project amounts to over 17 million lei, of which 11 million lei are granted. The Cluj City Hall will stand for only two percent of the projects’ value.

National Theatre in Cluj , Romania, by night
In a years’ time the citizens of Cluj will have another 15 kilometers of bicycle lanes in addition to the already existing structure; 50 rental stations and 540 new bikes. Of the 50 stations, 43are in Cluj-Napoca while seven are located in the townships of Apahida and  Floresti.
The City Hall offers 6,000 free cards to rent bicycles
Renting the bikes is completely free since, according to the local authorities, the intentions are to change habits of the people in Cluj, turning bicycles into alternative means of transportation and thus reduce pollution, fluidize traffic and improve life quality of the residents.
The renting process is quite simple; users will have an electronic card containing identification data. The 6000 cards, in the first phase, will be offered by City Hall; in case of renunciation the card will return to the municipality.  The idea of green transport came up earlier when bicycle rental companies were founded; similar to the ones already known in Western Europe. Of course, unlike those provided by the municipality, private bikes are not free, they cost about 7 lei per hour. Discounts apply only to students, by 20%.
Iuliu Maniu" Boulevard, Cluj
Authorities in Cluj noticed the citizens’ interest to use the bicycle as a mean of transportation and recreation. As such, in cooperation with environmental associations, a program to offer the bikes for free was launched. Rental was based on the ID, and the schedule was from 10.00 to 22.00 during the summer.
The City of Cluj benefits of EU support as part of the Axis 1 of the Regional Operational Program, meaning that funds up to 80 million euros can be allocated for development.
The parks and historic sites in Harghita County cost approximately 5 million lei.
Two other objectives of the ministry are the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Five contracts for EU funding were signed, meant for their modernization. The first envisioned city is Miercurea Ciuc, where the central park will be modernized. The first phase is intended for preservation of the existing vegetation and planting new local species, in other words, the most important is the ornamental. Then, attention shall turn to the park paths. They take more than 6000 square meters and they will be entirely rehabilitated. Urban furniture is to follow as a next step, succeeded by street lighting columns and floral decorations. Additionally, a cycling track will be built.
The estimated duration of the project is 12 months and the value is over 4.2 million lei, of which more than half is borne by the European Union: over 3 million lei as non-refundable.
National Theatre in Cluj , Romania, by day
Historic sites, unknown so far, were discovered In Ciuc, Odorhei and Gheorghieni. The main objective is to bring them to the attention of public and tourists’ as the case is of castles, fortresses and old churches. The target is to create informational sites, generate traditional advertising and PR. The project is estimated at 800 thousand lei, of which 470 thousand lei lei are European funds.
Thermo central turned social center and increased security for the city of Topliţa
There are two major projects scheduled for Topliţa. The first is meant to increase public safety in the city by installing video surveillance cameras. Implementation requires 15 months and the project costs 1.8 million lei, of which 1.4 million are provided by the ROP. Also in Topliţa an old thermo central is to be rehabilitated to benefit the community.
The location will host a home for the elderly, a day care center for children of disadvantaged families, a counseling center, a medical facility and a cafeteria. Rehabilitation of the building costs 5.6 million lei and will take approximately two years. EU provides funding for this project: 4.4 million lei.
A final project in this area aims to promote the festival of old music. This event is expected to cover the deficit for leisure activities. It also aims to promote Romania’s by contact with its interethnic heritage. Another objective is to open an extended tourist season in the area. The project will run over two years and will cost 600 thousand lei, of which 460,000 come from ROP.
Harghita and Covasna have been a priority of the Ministry of Tourism by funding from the state budget the rehabilitation of transportation and social infrastructure in order to revitalize health tourism in the area.
Raluca Borceanu – Translated by Ioana Giurgiuman