Cultural Park “Town of Weavers” is an example of how the cultural heritage is refurbished with EU funds and valorized with NGO’s cooperation.
Weavers’ Town Culture Park in Zgierz is the first cultural park in Poland. It was established in 2003 by the municipal authorities to protect the city's unique urban layout from the 1820s. The Cultural Park is one of the forms of monument protection laid down by Polish law to protect a specific area of the cultural landscape characterised with monuments, local buildings and traditional settlements. In the beginning of 19th century Zgierz started to work in local textile industries. When the complex lost its industrial importance, the area became a neglected part of the city, partly inhabited by a poor social group. To protect that cultural heritage of "Weaver Houses" with their unusual heritage of wooden architecture and to transform that part of the city into the renew visiting area the local Administration promoted the inclusion into the project "Revitalization and development of the historic wooden architecture complex of the city of Zgierz" co-financed by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. The process took place by restoring 4 buildings. After the restoration process, NGOs selected by public tender, introduced various services in the renovated buildings (i.e. food & accommodation, art & cultural centre, wood preservation, cafe etc.).The main stakeholders were the municipality of Zgierz and NGOs participating in the project. The main beneficiaries were the inhabitants of the city of Zgierz and tourists coming from all over Poland, as well as from abroad.
Financial resources: UE funds (incl. EEA grant € 1,352,719), rental fees paid by NGOs, other minor subsidies.
Human resources: 3 people - employees of the Zgierz City Hall (responsible for administration, sightseeing, finance, supply). Cleaning services are provided by the Zgierz City Hall.
Evidence of success
This practice can be considered good because it directly has changed the appearance of the area and influenced the level of security in this part of the city. Currently, the Cultural Park is visited by 10,000 people annually. Cooperation with NGO`s contributed to the protection of the cultural heritage of the city and the region. This has a positive effect on the maintenance of buildings, made the place more attractive to visitors and gave several jobs to people with disabilities.
The challenge for residents of the area of the cultural park is the supervision of a monument conservator which results in strict requirements related to the appearance and use of buildings.
Potential for learning or transfer
The cooperation between private (NGOs and independent institutions) and public entities (municipalities) towards common targets including implementations of projects:
- to protect monuments and national heritage (wood architecture)
- to enhance historical and social identity within the local community
- to create an impact on tourist development of the city and of the region
- to encourage social and cultural activities
- to promote the integration and mutual cooperation of people with disabilities with local communities
This GP may probably be included in the future in the PPP platform created by the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Development to meet the expectations of the public entities and the market. This platform is an agreement of public entities which are willing to cooperate and share knowledge on PPP. The number of PPP contracts is growing every year in Poland and the platform is an valuable tool for developing them in the field of cultural heritage.
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