Monday, 19 November, 2018

Rovaniemi City dwellers express mixed reaction

New plan for Lordi’s Square in the making

18 Oct 2018, 19:10 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 19 Oct 2018, 03:41 ( 1 Month ago)

DF Report by Natalia Nikolaeva
Matti Henttunen, Riitta Kemppainen-Koivisto, Aki Hätinen and Anna Siitonen. Photo Source: The interviewees, Anna Moutka.

The Rovaniemi City board is now working on drafting a new city plan which would bring a number of changes to the Lordi’s Square enabling it to offer a wider range of commercial services.

The area is expected to see a higher construction rate in the coming years. Moreover, the Rovaniemi market place might be relocated there.

According to the plan in the making, the height of the city centre would be kept at around 2-12 storeys.

However, the city board is also considering construction of a taller building, a 24-storey hotel tower. The changes will also touch upon other areas of the city.

The city board aims to have the first draft of the plan ready in the spring 2019 and finalise it by the end of the year.

The Daily Finland sought opinions from a few citizens of Rovaniemi on the planned development of the downtown area and the idea of moving the market place to the Lordi’s Square.

Matti Henttunen, a local businessman who is also on the Rovaniemi City Council, said, “One of the strategic priorities of Rovaniemi is developing the city centre and promoting the city as a tourist town. So Rovaniemi needs an attractive city centre. The Lordi’s Square and the adjacent area are the living rooms of our city. We need to develop it to attract investors and allow entrepreneurs to come forward with investments. Arrival of new investors will also create new jobs, in addition to adding pace to the city’s development.”

Mika Pajuniemi, Luiz De Mello, Johanna Aikio, Elisa Kuukasjärvi, Rodrigo Firmo Emediato,  Kennedy Pupe and Mio. Photo Source: DF, the interviewees. According to Henttunen, “The Lordi’s Square is designed to be transformed and built into a market. The area is a bit cramped now, but it would be okay once the planned development work is completed. Finally, I believe the residents of the city, tourists and entrepreneurs will enjoy a city centre with a lot of activities and events all year round.”

Riitta Kemppainen-Koivisto, chief editor of the Finnish language newspaper Lappilainen, said, “It would mean both the locals and especially the visitors would to get a common meeting point – square market – right in the heart of the city. The present market place is not attractive at all and is rarely used as a common public place. The plan would take us to a more modern form. Hopefully, the upcoming plan is to get a market with real walls and a roof, a kind of an open glasshouse downstairs, easy to reach.”

Aki Hätinen, the Rovaniemi church pastor said, “Having the market place where it is right now or in the Lordi square? Either way works for me. At times, Lordi’s Square can get empty and sad, so why not? On the other hand, for me it’s not an issue of passion. They might choose one direction or another.”

Anna Siitonen, a practical nurse, said, “I think it’s a good idea that there is a chance to get more shops here that we lack. It’s also a bit scary, because it could mean death sentence to some small businesses due to higher rents, which already are pretty high. In my opinion, moving the market place is probably not that good an idea as it would make it smaller. And I can only hope that they will plan more space for free parking so that those of us who live outside the city centre would feel more welcome.”

 

Mika Pajuniemi, born and raised in Rovaniemi, said, “I don’t really like the idea of moving the market place to the centre of the city. It is a very busy place and it is very difficult to imagine it coming to the Lordi’s Square. But I think a big hotel in the downtown area is a great idea.”

Rodrigo Firmo Emediato, an intern at the Pilke Science Centre, said, “I feel my opinion is of little significance. The Lordi’s Square looks good the way it is right now. It feels good to be in the city centre. But, if one big building goes up there, may be other high-rise buildings will start coming after.”

A member of a political group preferring anonymity, doesn’t want to make any rushed opinion on the topic. “I don’t really want to answer this question, because I don’t know all the details of the plans. I’ve heard a few things, but I am not too sure what to make of that. The Lordi’s Square is kind of quiet and there should be more people and more action. As an idea it sounds great, but how to construct that and make it happen is the question that gets me thinking,” she said.

Terming the topic controversial, Mikko Hyvönen, a student, said, “Yes, I’ve heard of it. I think it’s a bad idea, because the old market is a famous place. The Lordi’s Square is too small for it. It is also difficult to park your car there. And the old market has more parking places.”

Another city dweller Elisa Kuukasjärvi said, “I don’t really have an opinion about this. I don’t really care where the market place is located anyway.” Her friend, Johanna Aikio, has a bit more radical opinion. “No, I don’t really like the idea of moving the market place. The overriding problem is there is not adequate parking space in the city centre.”

Luiz De Mello, a student of the University of Lapland, said, “I have conflicting thoughts about moving the market place. The Lordi’s Square is too small. So it will get too crowded very easily. I don’t think the physical space is enough to host so many people regularly. If you extend the Lordi’s Square area to the rest of the street, like they do on the restaurant day, I can see it working. But the market place right now is actually not that far from the city centre. Come on people, walk! Most of the people have cars or bikes, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get there for events. As far as for a huge hotel, I am not sure if the city needs something like that in the near future.”

Kennedy Pupe, a singer and a businessman said, “I like the city center the way it is, but

change is also good. Of course, things need to be updated as the world is changing all the time. I love Lordi square the way it is, it’s unique, but I am okay with change.”

Mio, a nanny who works in Rovaniemi, said, “It is good, if there will be more cafes, restaurants. But I don’t agree with the decision of bringing the whole market place to the Lordi square. It’s going to be too crowded. I think the current market place is in the good location right now.”

Another city dweller Petra, said, “In my opinion it’s quite important to have older buildings in the city center. But it is also important to also have modern shopping centers, hotels, tall buildings. I think there should be both new and old buildings.”

Mikko, who works in administration field said , “I would really like to see tall buildings in the city center.”

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