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Palm of shame. Abandonment of the Cultural Park is having its hiccups in Gdansk

13 of June '24
w skrócie
  1. Rising three meters high, the plastic palm tree stood near Dluga Street in Gdansk. After dark it pulsates with pink light.
  2. Although there is a landscape resolution in the Pomeranian capital, the regulations do not apply to the private land where the palm tree is located.
  3. According to officials, the situation with the infamous palm tree, which stood on the grounds of a go-go club, "confirms the legitimacy of continuing work on the introduction of a Cultural Park in the Downtown area."
  4. The trouble is that the relevant Cultural Park project was ready in March of this year, but was unexpectedly shelved by the decision of Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, the mayor of Gdansk.
  5. The Cultural Park would have made it possible to regulate advertising, small architecture and ban erotic services in the historic part of the city.

  6. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal.

It's three meters tall, made of plastic and has grown in the historic heart of Gdansk. The tacky palm tree, which was set up by the owner of a go-go club, is further proof that the City's abandonment of the Cultural Park project was a mistake.

The news quickly circulated in the local media: an installation of questionable aesthetics stood in the historic Main Town, less than a few dozen meters from Dluga Street. It is a plastic palm tree, three meters in length, which pulsates with pink light after dark. It was set up by the owner of a go-go club located on Lektykarska Street, not caring that the area is listed in the register of monuments.

The trouble is, there's no help for the palm tree. Because although there has been a landscape resolution in Gdansk for six years, which effectively organizes the city's space, its provisions do not apply in this case. The reason? The land is private and is not subject to the provisions of the Public Roads Act, related to road lane occupation.

This is not the first time that a go-go establishment in the Main City has given the city space a hard time. A few years ago in the same place on the wall surrounding the building hung an illegal - placed without the permission of the conservator - flashy advertisement of the club (then it operated under a different name). It disappeared only after a media storm and many interventions by officials.

"Such decorations in this part of the city are unacceptable".

The palm tree appeared in an area listed in the register of monuments, so we have asked the Pomeranian Regional Monument Conservator to take action on the matter. We are independently trying to negotiate with the owner of the premises and persuade him to dismantle this installation, which is incompatible with historical buildings," informs Jędrzej Sieliwończyk of the Gdansk City Hall.

He adds that such decorations in this part of the city are unacceptable, and the Gdansk magistrate will take "further steps that will lead to the removal of the palm tree, which does not fit into the surroundings." According to officials, the situation with the infamous palm tree "confirms the legitimacy of continuing work on the introduction of a Cultural Park in the Downtown area."

Usunięcia palmy domagają się mieszkańcy

The removal of the palm tree is demanded by residents

Photo: Dorota Karaś

Therefore, we will certainly return to the discussion of its creation. However, the solutions worked out must be acceptable to both residents and businesses operating in the area. It will therefore be necessary to conduct many consultations again, with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, Sieliwończyk informs.

project shelved

Only that these announcements can hardly be taken seriously today. A great deal of effort has already been put into the creation of the City Cultural Park in previous years. The trouble is that when in March of this year the work was nearing completion and the draft resolution was ready - the decision to shelve the project was unexpectedly made by Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, the mayor of Gdansk. She explained that the resolution "imposes a lot of restrictions and new expenses for entrepreneurs, who are already heavily burdened financially." A group of entrepreneurs, led by Grzegorz Pellowski, a Gdansk baker and confectioner, had previously spoken out against the project, which was intended to protect the historic center. And the City, instead of seeking a compromise, chose the worst possible solution - the project went into a drawer. Now such a decision is reverberating with hiccups.

Dziś miasto nie ma narzędzi do tego, by wyegzekwować usunięcie instalacji

Today the City has no tools to enforce the removal of the installation

Photo: Natalia Gajdanowicz

The Cultural Park was to cover the area between Wapiennicza, Grodzka, Podwale Staromiejskie, Targ Drzewny, Wały Jagiellońskie, Okopowa, Podwale Przedmiejskie, Szopy, Szafarnia, Na Stępce streets. The idea was unanimously applauded by the Gdansk City Council as early as May 2021. The resolution on the intention to create the park was passed almost unanimously, with only one councilor abstaining. As early as six years ago, the Gdansk police asked the mayor to consider establishing a Cultural Park. It was also sought by Monika Nkome-Evini, manager of Gdansk's Downtown from 2019-2024, who decided to leave her post in April. Today the Downtown manager's seat is unfilled.

cultural park is a must

Meanwhile, the palm tree on Lektykarskaya concentrates the ills of the Main City as if in a lens: poor aesthetics, troublesome self-builds, or the nuisance of go-go clubs. To the ills in the historic part of Gdansk can be added, among others, door-to-door and door-to-door trading, parking under the walls of monuments, kitschy stalls, noise.

Park Kulturowy miał chronić historyczne centrum miasta

The Cultural Park was supposed to protect the historic center of the city

© Gdań

The draft of the resolution on the Cultural Park, suspended by the mayor of Gdansk, was to regulate such issues as advertising, food gardens, small architecture and organization of events. A ban on erotic services, including go-go clubs, was also written down. There is also a reference to the fact that "in the area of the Park it is prohibited to attach any decorative elements to the surface of the road or the facade of buildings, as well as to elements of small architecture, forebays or trees [...]." To put it simply: if the resolution on the Cultural Park had been adopted as planned, there would be no doubt today about the legality of the infamous palm tree.

Today, it remains to hope that the City will learn from this lesson, and that the Mayor of Gdansk will not lack the courage to make a decision that will improve the quality of the space of the historic part of the city. After all, the elections are behind us.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast