Sports fans in Ljubljana finally have something to cheer about.
For years, debate has raged in Slovenia about what to do with the capital's main stadium. The antiquated building is considered culturally valuable, since it is the work of the country most celebrated architect, Joze Plecnik. Ljubljana's recently elected mayor, Zoran Jankovic, had promised to resolve the issue during his tenure and this week it seems that the long-contested debate is truly over.
The consensus has something for everyone: The old stadium will be renovated and, at the same time, a new sports hall will be constructed. Mayor Zoran Jankovic:
"The Slovene government has provided the means for the stadium as well as the new hall. It's been included in the budget for 2008/2009."
Mayor Jankovic said Ljubljana would provide the land. The government and the EU will provide half the funding. The new stadium will rise up from 225,000 square meters of cleared-away land and will be a joint project involving private and public interests.
The issue has been burning for years. Numerous attempts to fix the old Bezigrad stadium repeatedly failed. The issue intensified when other Slovenian cities (like Celje and Maribor) began renovating their stadiums while arguments continued in Ljubljana. International competitions have usually been hosted in Celje's recently refurbished stadium.
The work on Ljubljana's stadium will be done by the city of Ljubljana, the Slovenian Olympic Committe and a private company. The long wait for how Ljubljana would solve its stadium problems is over; now sports fans just have to wait for construction to finish.