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  3. Nearly 3 billion PLN and over 600 projects – the balance of Wroclaw after 20 years in the EU

7,304 days, or 20 years. This is exactly how much time has passed since Poland joined the EU. Wroclaw is a great example of a city that made very good use of this period, and it is not only a question of investment in “hard” infrastructure.

Since Poland’s accession to the EU, over 600 projects and investments have been carried out in Wroclaw. They can be divided into “hard” ones (e.g., new roads, educational institutions, or new tram routes), or “soft” ones (connected with the implementation of social projects, training courses and international exchanges). The total amount of funding for their implementation exceeded 2.9 billion PLN.

Jacek Sutryk, Mayor of Wroclaw: ‘In Wroclaw, you can see the commitment of European funds almost at every step. Take, for example, new trams transporting passengers around Wroclaw every day, new roads enabling better communication, or cultural facilities such as the Capitol Theatre or the National Forum of Music. Looking at Wroclaw over these 20 years, we find it difficult to imagine the city without these expenses.

The effect? According to European Cities & Regions of the Future 2023/24, Wroclaw ranks first in the category of medium-sized cities in terms of best conditions for enterprises. ‘This allows us to say that our city is not only a great place to live but also to invest,’ adds the mayor of Wroclaw.

Getting around Wroclaw

One of the areas that have enjoyed intense development thanks to EU subsidies is public transport.

The leading investment was the construction of the bus & tram route to Nowy Dwór. This is the biggest expansion of the Wroclaw rail transportation system since 1945. Alongside this task, we can mention the route running through Szczepin and Popowice that is used every day by thousands of Wroclaw people and the fleet revolution covering altogether 400 new and modernised vehicles. They include, among others, 46 modern Moderus Gamma vehicles which the city bought thanks to refinancing in the amount of 76 million PLN from the Centre of EU Transport Projects.

‘These are great examples of “hard” projects. This list includes lots of tasks that actually contributed to the better comfort of travelling around Wroclaw. Apart from new investments put to use in the last few years, we should also remember the old ones that have functioned in our city for a long time. For example, the complete renovation of Klecińska Street along the W-Z Route and Lotnicza and Legnicka streets,’ reminds Dorota Olearnik, Director of the Department of Fund Management in the Wroclaw City Office.

Wroclaw does not want to stop at that – tram routes to Maślice and Swojczyce are already in the final design phase. The city has also its concept for the construction of the Northern Avenue.

“Green-blue” infrastructure

Urban heat islands and the quality of air have a direct impact on the quality of air in big metropolises, so it is necessary to counteract them. Funds from the EU prove useful also here.

Co-financing for “green investments” can be found, for example, in Szczytnicki Park. Wroclaw gained nearly 3 million PLN for the development of its part, and a further 4.5 million PLN was set aside for the expansion of the Partynice horse racing track.

It is important that large funds (almost 30 million PLN) were appropriated for the replacement of “smokers” – furnaces that do not comply with required standards (the city has already liquidated over 14,000 of them). 

But this is not the end of the “green-blue” transformation. In 2019, the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company in Wroclaw signed a project funding contract ‘Stormwater management in the city of Wroclaw – Stage 1’. The aim of the project was to reduce threats resulting from climate change and to increase the effectiveness of managing increasingly limited water resources through the effective use of stormwater.

The acquired funding made it possible, for example, to build three big stormwater management facilities at Długa Street in Wroclaw. Another measurable effect is 2.68 kilometres of the new stormwater drainage network and the rebuilding of the existing fragments. The amount of funding is nearly 17 million PLN.

In this context, it is also worth mentioning the Krzycki Park, which was handed over to Wroclaw inhabitants only a month ago. The project helped make good use of stormwater in retention tanks surrounded with greenery and charming bridges. In this way, another meeting place amongst greenery has been created in Wroclaw.

Education and social development

In order to continue the dynamic development of European metropolises, we must not forget about the most important factor. About the people who create communities, are aware of the needs and are prepared for the challenges of the future. In order to do this, adequate education and upbringing of further generations from the earliest age is necessary.

Being aware of these challenges, Wroclaw continues to develop also in this area. Hence the construction of new schools, kindergartens and nurseries. One of them is the School & Kindergarten Complex at Asfaltowa Street, which can contain up to 1,200 children. A facility of identical size is under construction in the Lipa Piotrowska housing estate, and architects are designing a building with the same cubic capacity, this time at Zwycięska Street.

‘The youngest inhabitants use renovated classrooms, practice on new sports grounds and in new sports halls and use the modern equipment that helps them adapt their knowledge. Our students enjoy also the benefits of international exchanges and extracurricular activities that develop their hobbies. And the teaching staff develop their competence at training courses. These are the examples of “soft” areas that we cover in Wroclaw under EU subsidies,’ adds Dorota Olearnik.

Over the years, Wroclaw used European funds also for the implementation of social projects. Their recipients are the homeless, the unemployed and people at risk of exclusion, including the elderly. An example is the conversion of buildings for the needs of daycare nursing homes for 120 dependent persons and social integration clubs, where over 270 persons rebuild their abilities to re-enter the labour market.

However, Wroclaw is not alone in its efforts to develop as the capital of the region. The aforementioned 600 investments and projects are only the tasks carried out by the local government. But there also other institutions and enterprises based in Wroclaw that carried out very important investments with the support of European funds. The examples include the comprehensive modernisation of the Main Railway Station, the construction of the new terminal of the Airport, or the construction of the Rędziński Bridge with the Motorway Bypass of Wroclaw.

Below there is a list of the most important tasks that were carried out directly by the municipality of Wroclaw with the support of EU funds:

  • construction of the Bus & Tram Route to Nowy Dwór. Cost: around 390 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: over 182 million PLN;
  • construction of the tram route through Szczepin and Popowice. Cost: around 277 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: 82 million PLN;
  • construction of the bypass of Leśnica (11 Listopada Street). Cost: around 181 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: over 134 million PLN;
  • construction of the National Forum of Music. Cost: around 360 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: 147 million PLN;
  • rebuilding of the Capitol Music Theatre. Cost: around 127 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: 82.9 million PLN;
  • construction of a school and kindergarten complex at Asfaltowa Street. Cost: 57.5 million PLN. Amount of EU funding: 10.3 million PLN.

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