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Jalu Kurka park in the hands of residents again! What's next?

Wiktor Bochenek
11 of January '23

Krakow's Jalu Kurka Park has reopened after many years of separation from residents. Since the first of January this year, this space familiar to older Cracovians has not been restricted. The only question that arises is, what next?

The park named after writer Jalu K urek is located on Szlak Street. It is only a few minutes' walk from the train station. Equally close is Krakow's market square. This is an important place for many Cracovians, who for years enjoyed the greenery of the place. How did it happen that for so many years the park stood closed?

a brief history of the struggle

Thehistory of Jalu Kurka Park dates back as far as the 15th century, but it was not until Stanislaw Tarnowski, who lived at the turn of the 19th century and was the rector of the Jagiellonian University, and a well-known politician of the conservative Stańczyk party, opened it to the public. Later the area, along with the palace, passed into the hands of the Salvatorian Fathers' Congregation, to become the property of the authorities after World War II. After the war, the palace housed the headquarters of Radio Krakow, which broadcast there until it moved to its new headquarters on Aleje Trzech Wieszczy project . Throughout this time it was open to Krakow residents, who remembered the place warmly.

The Society of the Divine Savior - Polish Province applied to the property commission after 1989 for the return of the palace and the adjacent park - which was successful. In recent years, there have been ideas that the city would expropriate the park if the negotiation route failed - such precedents have never occurred. For more than a dozen years, this green enclave next to Krakow University of Technology remained closed, until January 1, 2023.

In the meantime, there were petitions from residents addressed to the mayor of Krakow, regarding the buyout and recovery of the area. The negotiations themselves with the Society of the Divine Savior, according to the magistrate, had been going on since 2017. There were ideas of leasing the plot, swapping the land for another municipal resource, but ultimately the buy-back option prevailed.

The land was bought for the amount of PLN 10 million 987 thousand. Earlier there were offers as high as 14 million, which were not accepted.

Park Jalu Kurka

The park officially opened on January 1, 2023

photo: Boguslaw Swierzowski | © City Hall of Krakow

returns and plans

Jalu Kurka Park officially opened to residents on the first day of the new year. After the area was purchased, cleanup work began immediately, taking away trash, cleaning alleys or reviewing the tree stand. Unfortunately, already some of the trees need to be removed. The Urban Greenery Board has announced that one Acacia Robinia needs to be cut down. To this end, ZZM has submitted an application to the Provincial Office for Historic Preservation.

The opening of the park to residents should be taken as a good thing, but the question is how to further develop the 1.7-hectare area. Currently, the city and its institutions are not planning any changes or work beyond checking the condition of the trees and cleaning up the alleys. However, it is hard not to notice that with time there will probably be, from various sides, proposals for "revitalizing" the park. With such options on the table, it's worth taking a deep breath and thinking about whether any work beyond cleaning up the alleys and checking the trees is needed?

Maybe it is this gently "wild" character of the park that is worth preserving. Not in the form of a total lack of interference, but a place where nothing needs to be added. Sometimes big investments, especially in greenery, do not necessarily bring great results. Often it is just the opposite, social needs towards greenery require nothing more than basic maintenance. Less is more is eternally alive.

Park Jalu Kurka

Questions arise about what's next for the park

Photo: Boguslaw Swierzowski | © City Hall of Krakow

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast

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