Viimsi Municipality, one of the most well-heeled districts of the country, has asked the Ministry of Culture for additional funding for an air dome sports hall. The local authority is not the first to have done so in recent months.
Municipal Mayor Illar Lemetti (Independent) wrote to Culture Minister Piret Hartman (SDE), stating that the municipality had been working actively towards the air dome, a structure which requires air to be constantly pumped in, in order to maintain its structural integrity, being ready by next year. The municipality had already received state support towards the project.
Lemetti wrote: "The design has been completed, design conditions have been prepared, and the tender to find a designer has been opened up. Unfortunately, today we are in a situation where the construction sector has been recovering from the crisis restrictions during the Covid pandemic, while the six-month-long war in Ukraine has led to a rise in the price of energy, and construction materials and supply difficulties."
"For this reason, we are appealing to the state to find additional financial resources for the construction of an indoor football hall," he added, without being able to quote a figure – since the tender process is still ongoing.
Three other municipalities, Narva, Paide and Jõgeva, obtained state support for air domes in 2022, along with Viimsi itself. The support's terms require the sum, of €1.5 million, to be utilized in the same year of its issuing, though it can be extended by a year.
The other municipalities are also stuck with the construction of their air domes also, including Rakvere and Kuressaare, who obtained support for the purpose in 2021 but will not now get the air domes completed by the end of this year – with the reason given also being higher-than-expected costs; in Rakvere's case, the air dome will cost €1.4 million more than anticipated, the municipality says.
The state, too, is looking for ways to help local governments, stating the original 50:50 funding scheme - €1.5 million from the state to be matched euro-for-euro by the municipality, no longer works given today's construction prices.
"We can assure you that despite the very tight situation with the state budget, the government is looking for solutions to provide additional support for the construction of football halls," the Minister of Culture responded to Rakvere's request for both a time extension and more funding.
Sport in Estonia falls under the Ministry of Culture's remit.
Editor: Andrew Whyte