The municipality of Parque das Nações in Lisbon intends that the construction of basic equipment for the parish, such as the Health Center, can be completed by 2022, the date of the World Youth Days.
Two weeks ago, at the end of World Youth Day (WYD) 2019, which took place January 22-27 in Panama City, the city of Lisbon was announced as the next Catholic youth capital of the world in 2022.
The site of the next WYD, the largest event organized by the Catholic Church, will be set up on the grounds of Parque Tejo, comprising areas of Lisbon and Loures, specifically the parish of Parque das Nações (Lisbon) and Bobadela (Loures).
The president of the parish council of Parque das Nações, Mário Patrício (PS), welcomed the choice of venue, stressing that the event could be the “final end” of what was started 20 years ago with Expo’98.
“I admit I can conclude what has left 20 years ago. Let it be the conclusion of the consolidation of territory that 20 years ago was a despicable space of the city and today is a tourist attraction point,” he said.
However, the socialist mayor stressed that, despite all the enthusiasm and willingness to host the event, the main concern of the municipality is that, by 2022, the works of the future health centre and integrated basic school in the south of the Nations’ park.
“I hope that, by 2022, we can conclude that equipment that is so awaited here by the community, the question of the health centre and the schools, it is our concern in the immediate,” he said.
Still on the projects for the rehabilitation of that space, and recognizing that the parish council “still has little information on the subject,” Mário Patrício considered that the interventions expected “are those that have been for many years foreseen” and that now, with the realization of this event, “will finally be realized“, namely the construction of the riverside walk and the consolidation of the Beirolas landfill.
“Things were not forgotten, but with this event, we will accelerate the process,” he said.
Regarding the role of the parish council in this process, Mário Patrício explained that the municipality has competencies in the maintenance of public space and cleanliness and considered that these competencies will have to be reinforced for the event, so that “the conditions to accommodate all visitors and respond to needs “.
“The Park of Nations” is a territory accustomed to receiving some large events, as was the case with Eurovision and the Web Summit, but acknowledged that WYDs have different characteristics.
Regarding the impact on the life of the parish, Mário Patrício stressed that the fact that the event takes place in the summer “will not cause so many upsets.”
The optimism of the mayor of the Park of Nations is shared by Carlos Ardisson, the residents’ association The Imagined City Park of Nations, which believes that this event will bring great benefits to the territory.
“We received the news with great joy and satisfaction to receive an event of this nature. Our expectations are very high because we believe it will rehabilitate this space,” he said.
However, Carlos Ardisson defended that any intervention that takes place within the organization of the WYD “should have a definitive character and serve for the future“.
Concerning the fact that part of the land that will host WYD is located in an old dump, the resident considers that it does not cause problems because it has been sealed for almost 30 years.
“This is exactly the ideal time to be requalified and that allows to close that mesh of gardens and to be more space of great quality and of usufruct of the population“, he emphasized.