Renovation work in the heart of Tartu affecting local businesses

Renovation work in the Tartu Town Hall Square.
Renovation work in the Tartu Town Hall Square. Source: ERR

Construction work taking place in the heart of Tartu is inconveniencing businesses but owners largely keep a stiff upper lip.

While extensive renovation work being carried out in many places in central Tartu is causing inconveniences, local businesses seem unfazed.

"It is not a major impact, and I'm glad the city has found the money to fix up and improve some things to attract more tourists. There is some noise and dust, while I believe we will be able to survive for a few months for this noble goal," said Märt Meesak, owner of the Irish Embassy Pub.

Some potential patrons have been put off by the renovation work.

"Construction work in May kept us from setting up our terrace, which caused a slight backlog and disturbed some patrons. But we're doing the best we can," said Airiin Ojala, manager of the Soho Hotel.

Krõõt Kiviste, owner of the Green Room cafe on the banks of the Emajõgi, said that construction work has seriously impacted turnover.

"I would put the reduction in business at 50 percent. And I believe we will only see 20 percent of last year's business because we'll not have a terrace this summer. But it is a large building, and we're expecting more events to be held inside."

Work to renovate the famous The Kissing Students sculpture and fountain, the Town Hall building and the riverside promenade should be completed in fall. Tartu Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm said that the simultaneous renovation work is part of preparations for Tartu 2024 – European Capital of Culture.

"Tartu will be one of the European culture capitals next year, which is why we must make sure the heart of the city is ready to receive visitors," Tamm said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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