Residents of Tarnów prefer big park instead of concourse

Wiktor Bochenek
22 of March '23

"How long is the term of the agreement between the magistrate and the residents?" That's the question Tarnów residents may be asking themselves, having learned of the appearance of the site of the former shooting range in Piaskowka on the city's property sale schedule. Apparently, the contracts last as long as the presidents want them to.

At the beginning of this article, the author notes that he is one of the authors of the petition and opposition to the development of the site. The site of the former shooting range on Sandoval is again, after several years, raising disputes and controversy over its development. To talk about it, it is necessary to go back in time.

kilka lat temu część terenu została zabudowana

Several years ago, terraced housing appeared in the vicinity of the shooting range

© Piotr Blicharz

fight for greenery

In 2018, the Tarnów authorities withdrew from the proposal to develop the area between Czapskiego and Piłsudskiego streets. Twenty-two houses were to be built there, as reported by the media, including The land is owned by the Tarnów municipality. The development of the former shooting range was controversial among residents, who created a petition signed by several hundred Tarnów residents in opposition. The residents, at their own expense, commissioned a biological expertise—which proved that it was a habitat for many animal species and valuable plants.

The residents' resistance was exceptionally fortunate in the form of political support—the president's opponents and his counter-candidates came out against the development of the area. In the end, the area was protected from concreting as a result of a program agreement between Mayor Roman Ciepiela and the councilmen's clubs of the Civic Coalition and Our Town Tarnow.

There are no rational reasons to deviate from the agreement. The promise made to the residents of Tarnów must be kept, because another concretization of Piaskówka will no longer stand," says Tomasz Olszówka, a former councilman and representative of one of the parties to the agreement at the time.

The area, as also reported, has not been developed. By the strength of residents and decision-makers, the issuance of the development condition was stopped. Then an important idea was born.

w 2018 roku Magistrat wycofał się z wniosku o zabudowę terenu

In 2018, the Magistrate withdrew from the application to develop the site

© Piotr Blicharz

central park

For those unfamiliar with the topography of Tarnów, another explanation is important—the area between Czapskiego and Piłsudskiego streets is not just an enclave of greenery next to terraced houses and single-family houses. The area is key to the idea of a central park—because it connects as many as three green areas.

Walking from the city center, we can enter Strzelecki Park—a 19th-century park establishment listed in the register of monuments. It is a place that combines several functions—there is a playground, an art gallery, paths among tall trees and the mausoleum of General Joseph Bem, who could not be buried in the cemetery due to his conversion to Islam.

ścieżka pośród wysokich drzew, która prowadzi do mauzoleum Józefa Bema

The path among the tall trees that leads to the mausoleum of Jozef Bem

Photo: Wiktor Bochenek

On the northern side, we have the approximately twenty-hectare Piaskowka park, with a „semi-forest” character, with a pond and tall trees. Here we can also find a place for sports such as darts, boules and cross-country sports. Between these two park settings is also the Kantoria Marina, with a reservoir, a beach and a place to relax or play volleyball.

All these areas, separated from each other, can be united by creating a green enclave at the site of the former shooting range. This was the initiative of community activists, who proposed the concept of combining all these areas into one „ CentralPark.” The idea was supposed to start with an architectural competition aimed at young students of architecture and landscape architecture—which unfortunately did not happen. However, the idea of a central park continues to ignite minds.

The grounds of the former shooting range, with their gently wilder character, form an ideal conjuncture that, with its understated qualities, could be something more for the city. In keeping with the idea of "fourth nature,„ it could be supplemented with minor intrusions in the form of gravel paths and benches. Left in this way, the area could serve as a place of education for children, who have little contact with the "untrimmed” green areas. The existing qualities of the three green areas, would be expanded to include a place with real nature, amazing in its simplicity.

tereny byłej Strzelnicy stanowią łącznik pomiędzy innymi założeniami zielony. To one mogłyby zostać połączone w jeden park centralny

The grounds of the former Shooting Range form a link between the other green areas. They are the ones that could be combined into one central park

© Wiktor Bochenek—map based on Google Maps

fighting again

In 2023, residents noted that the land they fought for almost five years ago could be sold in June of this year. The timetable shows it as an area for „low-intensity residential” development. The mayor of Tarnów, in a statement given to Radio Krakow, "considered the agreement historic."—Of a different opinion are the residents of Piaskovka and Tarnów, as well as councilors, who are already declaring their opposition to the decision at the next session of the city council.

Tak mogłyby zostać zabudowane tereny byłej Strzelnicy

This is how the site of the former Strzelnica could be developed

© Piotr Blicharz—visualization based on Google Maps

Over the past few days, an online petition has been created, which has already been signed by more than three hundred people(online petition). Residents are organizing more actions and protests against the sale. Measures to curb erroneous decisions are still on the table, the question is whether the magistrate will use them. Selling the land, additionally without a Local Development Plan, will bury the possibility of creating a central park once and for all.

It's worth asking ourselves, is it better to have a one-time additional sum of money in the budget in one year, which will probably be enough to renovate a few streets, or a unique green park that will bring educational value, give residents a unique enclave and become a landmark of the city forever?

Residents make it clear that they prefer another solution than selling the land. Even with the knowledge that the creation of the central park is many years of work—it is worth taking the initiative.

tereny byłej Strzelnicy to siedlisko fauny i flory, w którym spotkamy zwierzęta rzadko widoczne w mieście

The grounds of the former Shooting Range are a habitat for flora and fauna, where we will meet animals rarely seen in the city

© Piotr Blicharz

Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast

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