Narva Town Hall (Narva raekoda) is set to get a makeover, including a tourist center as part of its facilities.
The hall has lain virtually empty for 20 years, since it was last used as a children's creative house. However, this year the State Support Services Center (RTK) approved a reconstruction project for both the hall and the town hall square (Raekoja plats).
"The main goal is to revitalize the Old Town district," said Juri Saija, director of Narva city's development and economics.
"We hope this will become a good and decent tourist destination, making entrepreneurs more confident in contributing to developing the old town," Saija continued. Narva Town Hall is one of just three buildings in the old town to have survived the onslaught of the 1944 Battle of Narva, where aerial bombardment by the Red Air Force, as well as destruction by retreating German forces destroyed 98 percent of its buildings.
"Right now the Old Town lacks the same environment, business environment here and I really hope our project contributes to this development," he added.
Over the past 20 years, various creative collectives have found a temporary home in the town hall, including housing a bicycle exchange and a model of old Tallinn
The refurbished town hall will include a tourism desk, tea rooms and a restaurant, along with a souvenir shop, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, with the city's authorities moving to the second and third floors.
"All city council meetings, conferences and seminars will take place on the third floor where the mayor's official receptions, press conferences and all other events will [also] take place," said Saija.
Other recent developments in Estonia's easternmost city include the University of Tartu's Narva College, located next door to the Town Hall, the under-construction transit road, and the Vaba Lava theater.
The Kreenholm former textile factory has also been refurbished, and hosted the second Station Narva international music and culture festival this September.
The city's budget for 2020 has been set at €97 million.
President Kersti Kaljulaid has also visited the city several times since becoming president, basing herself there for over a week on at least one occasion in 2018.
The city did however miss out this year on becoming European City of Culture 2024, to Tartu.
"Raekoja plats and Stockholmi plats will still encourage people to get together for a walk, down the promenade from the Town Hall, and along the river," said city councillor Katri Raik (SDE).
"This [development] would certainly add value to the district, where apartments are already three times more costly than in the rest of Narva. We [still] don't have a street to show for ourselves, and others," Raik added.
Details of the reconstruction contract will be announced in a few months, and is reported to cost around €7 million and be ready for 2023.
Editor: Andrew Whyte