Mayor of Tallinn, Mikhail Kõlvart (Centre), has been appointed chairman of the Temporary Committee on the Development of the Song Festival Grounds. Urmo Saareoja, the head of the Song Festival Grounds, hopes this will help to move the stalled development project forward.
Saareoja said work on the future plans for the Song Festival Grounds has been delayed for the last two years, as parties could not agree on the development of the area.
"There are many different interest parties - the city, the song field foundation, the state, the song and dance festival foundation, the choir association, smaller interest groups, and then the Heritage Board (Muinsuskaitseamet). So far, no consensus has been reached. The last thing was that the Heritage Board insisted that the conditions of heritage conservation should be taken into account in the planning, because it is a cultural object," Saareoja told ERR on Thursday.
The detailed future plan of the Song Festival Grounds exists only on paper today and has not been given an official pass. "The detailed plan is, frankly, in the drawer, it has not been submitted. I am optimistic that things will start to progress," continued Saareoja.
He was also optimistic after Kõlvart's appointment. "Now that the Mayor is in the lead, I think that it was the right choice and my heart is saying things are moving. Now the commission is serious," Saareoja said firmly.
Kõlvart said in a press release the development plans for the Song Festival Grounds should be well thought out, sustainable, and that the end result should be world-class.
One of the goals is to accommodate as many singers and spectators as possible during the big celebrations.
"It is also the mayor's wish that as many people as possible can attend the song festival in the future. At the moment, it is not known whether the area will be able to expand," said Saareoja.
Secondly, according to Saareoja, what goes on at the grounds between Song Festivals needs to be determined. "One idea is to hold permanent exhibitions so that both Tallinners and tourists can come here between the festivals," he said.
More specific proposals and plans will be issued on Sept. 27, when the next working committee meeting will be held.
Editor: Helen Wright