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Residents of the European Quarter, Haren to vote on new community projects

Illustration picture shows a girl and a boy pictured in a playground in Brussels, Wednesday 27 May 2020. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
09:51 21/09/2021

Citizens living in the European quarter of Brussels and in the neighbourhood of Haren will soon be able to choose how they want to spend €900,000 on community initiatives.

The capital’s authorities have several feasible projects in mind for each of the two districts and will put the decision on which to fund to a public vote.

The budgets for the citizens' projects in Brussels have been considerably increased as part of the government’s current legislature. In Neder-Over-Heembeek, €1 million was set aside last year for projects that residents of the district proposed and chose. This year, the city is allocating €600,000 for projects in the European quarter and €300,000 for those in Haren.

Of the many dozens of projects that were submitted, the Brussels authorities decided on 10 for the European quarter and 12 for Haren, which now form a shortlist that citizens will be able to vote for from October. Each of the projects chosen to be put to the public vote have been chosen on their feasibility, according to Arnaud Pinxteren, the councillor responsible for participation.

Among the projects for the European quarter is a plan to rejuvenate the Maelbeek valley garden, a park which lies between Rue de la Loi, Rue Joseph II and Chaussée d'Etterbeek. The plan, which involves the restoration of the garden’s water feature, would cost €400,000 to realise and is by far the most expensive on the list.

Another idea for the district is the renovation and design of a pavilion as a meeting space for residents in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. The development would cost €300,000. Only one of these projects, the pavilion or the Maelbeek garden, would get the nod if chosen as their combined cost would be more than the entire budget for the district.

Smaller projects are also being presented, such as playgrounds which would replace two car parks in the Leopold district. Additionally, a project to install so-called "solidary refrigerators" which would provide food for those struggling to make ends meet, is also on the list.

In Haren, a project has been chosen for the construction of a community park, with a sensory path, farm animals, a flower meadow and a vegetable garden, which would cost around €20,000 to build. The most expensive project in Haren is the construction of a pavilion in the Sleutelgatpark.

Voting on the projects will take place throughout the month of October. During that month there will also be a project festival per district to present the different ideas to the public.

Written by Nick Amies