Suspicious transactions that are taking place in relation to the Hippodrome area raise doubts about the transformation of the recreational space into a construction site.
The “Hippodrome Without Concrete” movement responds to the information disseminated in the media recently concerning the uncontrolled and non-transparent buying and selling of various parts of the territory of the old Hippodrome. Representatives of the movement believe that these transactions, the aim of which is unclear to the public, reveal the danger of turning a large part of the hippodrome territory into a construction site.
In October 2020, the Cartu Foundation handed over a part of the Hippodrome area to the Tbilisi Municipality for the purposes of the pre-election campaign. At that time, the government took the initiative to develop a central park on this site. However, the Tbilisi City Hall has been carrying out simulated rehabilitation works in this territory for three years now. Unfinished works are scattered throughout the hippodrome. From time to time, heavy equipment also operates for unclear purposes. Despite numerous requests and protests, residents of the neighborhood community of the hippodrome have been unsuccessfully in their attempts to obtain and participate in the Central Park project. The municipality does not respond to the request of the neighborhood community, that the project of rehabilitation of the hippodrome be planned with the maximum preservation of the natural surface, without concrete and decorative constructions.
It is also important that, instead of the announced 36 hectares, the municipality was given only a part of the hippodrome area, 28 hectares, while the remaining 8 hectares – a forested, green area remained in the ownership of the Cartu Foundation that gives the private owner ample opportunities for the development of the area. Members of the community living around the hippodrome do not exclude the possibility of clearing this area and erecting high-rise buildings in it.
In August 2023, the public became aware of the vague and non-transparent transactions in relation to the territory that remained in private ownership – the Cartu Foundation sold a part of the area to a former member of the National Movement. After that, the owner sold another part of the area to the same company, however, for unknown reasons, took it back in a few days.
Taking into account the public interest, both the owner and the municipality are obliged to provide a justification for the purposes for which the aforementioned transactions took place with regard to this public space, which is very important for the city. The ungrounded statements made by the owner further add to the ambiguity and create the assumption that this area is being prepared for construction
Based on all of the above, we request:
- To declare to the public the purpose of the current transactions with regard to the territory of the hippodrome and the plans of the owner for the territory;
- To stop the simulation works in the hippodrome that are damaging the public space;
- The hippodrome rehabilitation project should be designed with the full involvement of the public, based on the principle of maximum preservation of the natural surface and the exclusion of decorative buildings, as part of public discussions.