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"Community-led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns (COMUS)”

Feasibility Study (FS)

Rehabilitation of the Nistru Riverbank

Soroca

Republic of Moldova

February 2017

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Preamble

The COMUS project – “Community-led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns” – is a joint Council of Europe and European Union project building upon policy priorities in the context of the Eastern Partnership Programme (2015-2020) targeting multilateral co-operation activities with Armenia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. It is being implemented in nine historic towns specifically focusing on integrated urban rehabilitation and heritage conservation. The project provides cities with effective support and expertise of the Council of Europe and the Organization of World Heritage Cities in mobilizing heritage conservation as a real component of urban renewal, but also in standard setting, co-operation and monitoring techniques.

Soroca is the Pilot town selected in Moldova to test and implement integrated urban policies and concrete rehabilitation projects, accompanied by several community-involvement activities aimed at generating community-wide ownership. Through a series of consultations and working sessions involving local stakeholders and the community, the city has selected two priority rehabilitation projects which are foreseen to increase the attractiveness of the city and to have beneficial impact on local development.

The current Feasibility Study focuses on the Rehabilitation of the bank of the river Nistru and its adjacent open spaces to pedestrian boardwalk. The document was elaborated by Mr. Dumitru Cogalniceanu, local expert, assisted by Mrs. Tatiana Robu and Mrs. Elena Mitu, technical advisors, and supported by Mr. Dennis Rodwell, international expert and Mr. Philip Stein, COMUS Lead Expert. The final version of the document was reviewed by Mr. Sergius Ciocanu, chief of Cultural Heritage Directorate of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova. The process was overseen and coordinated by Ms. Dumitrita Efremov, COMUS Project Officer, and Mr. Vlad Moldovan, Project Manager.

This document was produced within the framework of the Joint Project EU/CoE “Community-led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns”. The content does not necessarily represent the official position of the European Union and/or the Council of Europe.

Table of Contents

Executive summary………………………………………………………………..……………………………….1

1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………….32. Description of the site…………………………………………………………………………………………..4

            2.1 Depiction of the site and its components………………………………………………..………4

            2.2 Administrative information…………………………………………………………………….……5

            2.3 Needs and requirements……………………………………………………………………….……5

3. Constraints and opportunities………………………………………………………………………….……..6

            3.1 Statutory protection / constraints………………………………………………………….………6

3.2 Opportunities for enhanced existing use and re-functioning………………………….……..7

4. Description of the project………………………………………………………………………………………8

            4.1 Outline of the project……………………………………………………………………...…………8

                        4.1.1 Project scope and objectives………………………………………………….…….…….8

                        4.1.2 Desired results……………………………………………………………………..……….8

                        4.1.3 Broad summary of the vision for the site………………….…………...……...…………9

4.2 Elaboration of the project……………………………………………………………….....………11

                        4.2.1 Assessment of activities……………………………………………………….………….11

                        4.2.2 Budget appraisal…………………………………………………………………….…….14

                        4.2.3 Listing of possible funding sources………………………………………..……….……15

                        4.2.4 Investment recovery assessment………………………………………………….…….15

                        4.2.5 Environment and social foreseen impact………………………………...……….…….15

                        4.2.6 Risks…………………………………………………………………………………..…….15

4.3 Development mechanisms…………………………………………………..………………..……16

4.4 Management and sustainability………………………………………………….……….….……16

4.5 Assessment of viability……………………………………………………………………….…….17

5. Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………….………………….…18

Annexes…………………………………………………………………………………………………….….……19


Executive summary

The rehabilitation of the Nistru riverbank is one of the two priority intervention projects proposed for implementation in Soroca as part of the COMUS project. It targets one of the most intensely used public spaces in the city, comprising “Malul Nistrului” street (The Nistru Riverbank) and the open spaces along it. The site is an emblematic landmark of the city, which together with the Medieval Fortress at its centre, is unique in its historic and identity significance, offering opportunities for social uses and sustainable development.

The project area covers a total length of 4.6 km, out of which 4.2 km are part of the Soroca urban area, and 400 m lie outside the administrative border of the city. The width varies from 12 m to 160 m, depending on the lay-out of the infrastructure. The urban area is managed by the Soroca Municipality, while the extra-urban sector is managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Roads Infrastructure. It is located in the historic centre of the town, on the border with Ukraine.

The site is in an unsatisfactory physical condition. The street surface is very damaged, the vegetation is spontaneous, there are no quality equipment and utilities. The squares along the street are largely abandoned or neglected and its aspect is rather industrial. While the historic context of the site and its composition are suitable for it to become a catalyst for the social and cultural life of the city, its current condition makes it unattractive for open-air activities. The riverbank is reinforced by a stone wall built during the 1970s to prevent flooding. The parapet on the top of the wall significantly limits access to the water and encloses the view of the river. The unregulated vehicular access also creates pollution and causes discomfort to pedestrians.

The site is in public ownership and is administered by Soroca Municipality (the intra-urban sector) and the Ministry of Transportation and Roads Infrastructure (the extra-urban sector). Other authorities responsible for the site include: the Soroca District Council; the Ministry of Culture; the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction; and, the Ministry of Environment.

The priorities identified for the riverbank include the need to improve the existing physical infrastructure, as well as to reverse the fragmentation of the site by integrating its elements into a coherent landscape. Specific issues such as ecological problems and vehicular access are also addressed.

The Nistru riverbank contains or is in the vicinity of a large number of landmarks which add important value to the site, especially as concerns touristic and economic development. These include the Soroca Fortress and the Petru Rares park, historic monuments of national importance, the natural reserve “Bechir’s Cliff” situated in the southern part of the project area, contains a large number of natural and archaeological features. The site is also near the “Roma Hill” neighbourhood – a development with large eclectic villas built by the largest Roma community in the country. All these assets could be integrated into a touristic route linked by the riverbank.

The main scope of the project is to enhance the bank of the river in order to provide a vibrant and attractive public space for both local inhabitants and visitors to Soroca. The regeneration concept takes into consideration specific possible uses in the future such as:

-       open-air cultural and social events, performances, festivals;

-       sports competitions and events, including water sports, games;

-       seasonal fairs and commercial activities, recreational activities, catering;

-       workshops with local traditional craftsmen;

-       camping, fishing, walking.

Project implementation is expected to take four years, the first of which is preparatory. During this year, the existing challenges will be analysed and solutions proposed following a series of activities involving the community and technical experts. The second year is mainly for the elaboration of the technical rehabilitation project and years three and four are for concrete physical interventions.

The process will include a wide range of visibility and community-involvement actions aimed at identifying the needs and expectations of the citizens, who will contribute to the final design of the space. As part of the process, the creation of a Local Stakeholders Group (LSG) is envisaged. The LSG will be consulted and directly involved, its primary role is to ensure step-by-step supervision and transparency, in move away from outdated methods of implementing development projects. The group will include local authorities, representatives of different ethnicities, NGOs, businesses, residents of the riparian area, and the cultural sector. The LSG will organize working meetings to debate how they wish to enhance key elements of the site in the future. Technical experts will incorporate outcomes of the LSG’s work into the rehabilitation project.

Additional visibility and awareness activities are envisaged, includinig the organization of cultural, ethnic and sports events at the site. A summer school with local and foreign students will be organized on the site to promote open-air arts and crafts. Capacity building activities will include workshops and study visits for managers of the riverbank.

Constant communication and visibility through available media tools (publications, mass media, promotional leaflets, web, etc.) will be ensured. The aim is to achieve transparency and visibility, and also to attract possible investors.

The project is implemented by a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) responsible for planning, organizing the process, monitoring and visibility. The PIU is composed of long-term and short-term experts, responsible for specific actions necessary to implementation the project according to the planned schedule. The PIU will work close with the LSG and oversee the implementation of the technical steps according to the rehabilitation concept.

The rehabilitation of the Nistru riverbank will have a positive impact on local development and on the communities living in Soroca. During the process and after the works are finished, the site will become a vibrant public space bringing together citizens of different ages and ethnic groups, who will all be invited to contribute and participate. The rehabilitated site will attract tourists from Moldova from abroad, who will use the site for various recreational purposes. An improved public infrastructure will attract local and foreign investors who will be encouraged to develop income generating activities which will create revenue for the municipality and create jobs.

The project will improve the image of the city at national and international level, reaffirming its role as an important regional touristic centre. The wider impact may include a reduction in emigration, especially of the younger population, as well as improvements in living environment and social inclusion in Soroca.

1. Introduction

Soroca is a historic town located in the north-east of the Republic of Moldova, on the border with Ukraine, 160 km from the country capital. It is situated on the western bank of the River Nistru (Dniester) where a meander forms steep banks highly suited to defence in the past. In the Medieval period, a stone fortress was built on these banks, and the monument stands to this day and is the symbol of the city and one of its main touristic attractions.

The people of Soroca strongly identify with the River Nistru. It is an important natural feature which shaped the development of the medieval town, and later the modern city. It represents the “spine” of the locality, which determined the lay out of the city’s streets, creating landmarks. Besides its historic and urbanistic role, the riverbank has a social and community importance, being the main recreational public space for the inhabitants of Soroca.

The present Feasibility Study (FS) focuses on the rehabilitation of the Nistru riverbank by harnessing its historic, urban and community role for the city. A high quality open space will be created, bringing together local inhabitants, enhancing its historic context and picturesque landscape. The main reason for prioritising this project is the opportunities for social uses and sustainable development that it offers, by mobilizing different parts of the local community due to its high level of ownership. It also has the capacity to generate income from commercial and tourism activities for the municipality and for the local people.

The study is composed of five sections providing context information, main constraints and opportunities for development, detailed description of the project and expected outcomes. The FS links to the ongoing rehabilitation of the Soroca Fortress, which has direct implications for the Nistru riverbank. Sources of information include existing urban plans and development strategies for Soroca, cadastre and archive plans and documents, technical utilities plans, historic photographs and online and printed publications. The legal framework has been considered during the development of the concept for the site. As the existing urban plans and strategies mainly focus on development of infrastructure and tourism, while the COMUS approach is oriented towards social and community benefits, not all the provisions of the current regulations have been taken into account. The main discrepancy between existing plans and the proposed approach is the pedestrianisation of the Malul Nistrului street and the aim of reconnecting the urban space to the river. The FS does not only focus on the rehabilitation of the street, but also takes into consideration the adjacent open spaces, which are an important asset that need to be integrated in the development plan. The main aspects underlying the development concept are the following:

-       considering opportunities for social benefits for the local community over potential over-exploitation from tourism and economic activities;

-       minimum intervention on the natural landscape and limited infrastructure development;

-       respect for the historic context of the site, especially the Soroca Fortress and its surrounding park.

The FS has been developed by a local expert, assisted by technical advisors on specific topics and supported by an international expert. The final version of the document is reviewed and adopted by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Mold2. Description of the site

2.1 Depiction of the site and its components

The project area covers the bank of the River Nistru; the street Malul Nistrului (the Bank of Nistru) and a series of adjacent open spaces. Its total length is 4.6 km, 4.2 km of which are within the Soroca urban area. The remaining 400 m are outside of the city’s administrative border, but part of the Soroca District. The width varies from 12 metres to 160 metres, depending on the configuration of the infrastructure. The urban area is managed by the Soroca Municipality, while the extra-urban sector is managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Roads Infrastructure. It is located in the historic centre of the town, at the border with Ukraine.

The site contains and is adjacent to a number of important landmarks which give it added value, especially from a touristic and recreational perspective. At its southern end it borders a protected natural reserve which contains the archaeological site “the Bechir Cliff” and the “Candle of Gratitude” monument. The Soroca Fortress, one of the preserved Moldovan medieval fortifications to survive today, is located in the centre of the site. There are two ferryboat customs points in the area, transporting pedestrian and cars to the other side of the river to Ukraine. Other important assets include two beaches on the site and a summer recreational camp located 3.2 km down the river.

The Nistru riverbank can be subdivided into five sections:

1. “Bechir’s Cliff” area – 1,000m from the entrance into the city, including 620m of a national road administered by the Ministry of Transportation and Roads Infrastructure and 380 m of the intra-urban road “Malul Nistrului”. The area is in a flood risk zone.

2. Historic centre area – 2,390m of the historic centre of Soroca. Any intervention on this sector should be co-ordinated with the Ministry of Culture.

3. Soroca Fortress capitalization area – a 2.7 ha, part of the Historic centre area, surrounding the Soroca Fortress.

4. Bujerauca area – 690m of city riverbank.

5. Undeveloped riverbank – 950m of unpaved road in the northern part of the site.

The Historic and Bujerauca areas are reinforced by a concrete wall built during the 1970s to prevent flooding. The parapet on the top of the wall, with its industrial appearance, significantly limits access to the water and blocks the view over the river. The unregulated vehicular access also creates pollution and causes discomfort to pedestrians.

There is currently very limited information available concerning the site’s evolution over time, but some archive photographs from the Tsarist and from the Romanian (interwar) periods illustrate the active commercial profile of the site, which in time has been lost.

2.2 Administrative information

2.2.1 Country or Territory: Republic of Moldova

2.2.2 Contact name: Victor SAU, mayor of Soroca

2.2.3 E-mail address: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifMsoroca@mtc-sr.md

2.2.4 Name and address of building or site: The bank of the river Nistru (the Malul Nistrului street and the adjacent public space), Soroca city, Soroca district, Republic of Moldova

2.2.5 Inventory reference number:  N/A

2.2.6 Building/Monument/Site type: open-air public space

2.2.7 Main dates: Malul Nistrului Street and the adjacent public space, from the Bechir Bridge at the entrance in the city to the Soroca Noua neighbourhood, at the limit of the urban area – a sector of 4.6 km length and variable width

2.2.8 Current use(s): recreational, mixed use

2.2.9 Map reference: spatial reference X, Y coordinates: 336182.44, 192858.73

2.2.10 Ownership: public ownership managed by the Soroca Municipality; the sector outside the urban area (400 m) is managed by the Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure

2.2.11 Main stakeholders and responsible authorities:

-    Soroca City Hall

-    Soroca District Council

-    Ministry of Culture

-    Ministry of Regional Development and Construction

-    Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure

-    Ministry of Environment

2.3 Needs and requirements

“Malul Nistrului” Street is in an unsatisfactory physical condition (the surfacing is damaged, the vegetation is spontaneous, and there are no quality furniture or utilities). The public spaces along it are largely abandoned or neglected. Both are a high priority for intervention. While the layout of the space is highly suitable for open-air activities and festivals, the design and the physical condition of the site mean that at present it is not used to its full potential.

The existing flood defences represent a significant physical barrier separating the city and the promenade from the water. There are a few sets of stairs for accessing the river, but these are in bad condition and do not foster any connection with the water. One of the main requirements of the project is to ensure that the design reconnects the Nistru to the urban space.

As restoration began at the Soroca Fortress, additional landscape works were carried out on the riverbank. These included the reconstruction of the park and section of road surrounding the monument, though there was no intervention on the riverbank itself. In the absence of a strategic vision for the site, these works were not part of a single concept and did not tackle its current fragmentation. At the same time, the quality of the works has proved to be unsatisfactory, and the design does not meet contemporary restoration standards. A new approach is necessary to integrate existing elements into a coherent landscape.

One of the main problems that the administration in facing in Soroca is the fact that there is no sewage treatment plant. Currently all the waste of the city is disposed in the river, causing heavy smells and serious ecological issues. The problem is exacerbated as the waste disposal is located near the Fortress, one of the city’s main touristic attractions. Improving water quality and public health are both major issues which need to be urgently resolved.

The riverbank is highly accessibility from the city centre, as many of the historic streets start from there. The whole open space is in need of reconfiguration, especially the central part of the street, in order to ensure ease of access and create a suitable venue for large- and small-scale open-air activities.

Some sections of the street are still used for vehicular access and parking, including the area adjacent to the fortress. This is a cause of pollution and is detracts from the visitor experience of the site. The project envisages that the street will be pedestrianized with access limited to service vehicles and bikes.

3. Constraints and opportunities

3.1 Statutory protection / Constraints

The main constraints of interventions are imposed by the following aspects:

1. The Soroca Fortress and the Petru Rares park are historic monuments of national importance, included in the Register of State Protected Monuments (no. 2608). Some other historic monuments of national importance are situated in the immediate vicinity, such as the Soroca District Hospital. A stretch of riverbank 2,390m long forms the border of the historic centre of Soroca. Any intervention on this sector needs to be co-ordinated with the Ministry of Culture.

2. The Bechir’s Cliffsite, situated in the southern part of the project area, is a natural geologic and paleontological monument (registration no. 65), managed by the State Forest Service of Soroca. The 1,000m stretch of riverbank at the entrance to the city besides or in the vicinity of this reserve require a minimum intervention approach in accordance with the regulations imposed by its status as a protected natural area. Interventions on this sector should be co-ordinated with the Ministry of Environment and with local authorities responsible for the site.

3. The site area is located within the state border area, which according to the relevant Moldovan regulation, includes a swathe of 1000m from the state border line. This means that any economic activity carried out in this area should be co-ordinated with the border police. The border line between Moldova and Ukraine is the middle of the river Nistru. In Soroca, the State border protection strip stretches for 15m from the border and cannot be crossed unless authorized. At present, there are no agreements between Moldova and Ukraine concerning activities in the border area, which means that navigation is prohibited. To facilitate economic, recreational opportunities and public health improvements on the Nistru and its bank, an agreement between Moldova and neighbouring Ukraine is a highly recommended.

4. The project area is situated in the protected area of the Nistru river (1000m along the strip of water), imposing specific limitations of the economic activities, particularly of those that could lead to pollution.

3.2 Opportunities for enhanced existing use and re-functioning

The site provides unique opportunities for developing activities and recreation. Through its variety of landscapes, it has the capacity to accommodate large festivals and open-air performances involving the city’s diverse local communities. Its open squares could accommodate temporary events including performing arts and festivals, biking and other sports activities could take place on the promenade or street.

The riverbank’s existing assets, its beaches and pedestrian ferryboat customs points, can be enhanced and become leisure destinations. Many locals enjoy fishing during summer, and the existing wild areas along the bank are well suited to this activity. The southern part of the site is in a flood-risk zone. The undeveloped sector north of the riverbank (950m) offers opportunities for landscape improvement and could be used for camping.

The regeneration process and increasing use of the site will mobilize different parts of the local community and increase the level of civic participation. This project is important due to its high level of involvement and ownership of the city’s inhabitants. Income can be generated from commercial activities and tourism. The natural area at the entrance into the city could be integrated into national and international routes, adding further value to the site. The site is directly connected to “Roma Hill” a neighbourhood that has developed over the last few decades, and has become an important touristic attraction in the city.

The project implementation will respect sustainable urban development principles and practices, encouraging adaptive reuse of the existing built heritage and safeguarding the integrity of the natural landscape.

During the soviet period the site played host to a range of touristic activities, such as canoeing and other water sports. A large accommodation complex still exists, but is now in private ownership and is closed. There was an amusement park near the fortress, and many local inhabitants still remember its existence. The previous functionality was considered for the proposed uses, including:

-       open-air festivals, cultural events, performances, mobile cinema;

-       sports competitions and events, including water sports, games;

-       seasonal fairs;

-       workshops with local traditional crafts (osier basketwork, wrought iron and forging, flagstone carving);

-       camping, fishing, walking;

-       commerce, catering.

4. Description of the Project

4.1 Outline of the Project

4.1.1 Project scope and objectives

The main aim of the project is to enhance the bank of the river in order to provide a vibrant and attractive public space for the inhabitants and for the visitors of Soroca.

The main target group of the project are the local citizens living in Soroca, irrespective of age and interests, from different sections of the community. The project will offer them the opportunity to meet, engage and express their distinct identities.

The specific objectives are:

-    rehabilitation of the riverbank and its physical infrastructure as respects its different zones (described at 2.1);

-     creating a vibrant landscape that inteagrates the riverbank’s historic identity with new amenities;

-    creating a network of connected open spaces suitable for leisure and public events;

-    attracting new complementary creative and entertainment uses;

-    creating a high-quality and vibrant living environment for the local community;

-    development of touristic services;

-    attracting new investors and partnerships;

-    enhancing the image of the city at regional and national level;

-    increasing the level of involvement and co-operation among inhabitants;

-    reconnecting the urban space to the river.

4.1.2 Desired results

The rehabilitation project will have a positive economic and social effect for the city and its inhabitants. The following results are expected:

Quantitative results:

-    4.6 km of the riverbank rehabilitated and equipped according to specific requirements;

-    two beaches set-up and improved;

-    4.6 km of bicycle lane built;

-    ferryboats improved for touristic and leisure purposes;

-    cross-border agreement for activities on Nistru set;

-    1100m of the flood risk area to the south of the site secured;

-    2.7 ha of public spaces in proximity of the Soroca fortress fit to harness local cultural heritage, comprising traditional arts and crafts in relation to the medieval fortress;

-    tourist information centre created;

-    four tourist information displays in international languages installed;

-    waste disposal area relocated ;

-    visitors numbers, including international tourists, increased by 5,000-10,000 per year;

-    conditions for restoring water sports, including canoeing, put in place.

Qualitative results:        

-   the historic area, including the medieval area, improved and equipped with adequate services;

-   improved liveability for local inhabitants;

-   increased attractiveness for foreign investors;

-   riverbank pedestrianized;

-   increased visibility and attractiveness of the city at national and regional level;

-   Increased number of open-air educational and cultural opportunities

-   positive effect on the surrounding areas (the neighbouring historic centre, the road infrastructure);

-   positive example of rehabilitation for other riparian localities;

-   increased number and variety of commercial activities;

-   improvement of the environmental conditions and minimized ecological impact;

-   increased level of tolerance and involvement within the local community; enhanced intercultural exchange;

-   new jobs and income for local people and government;

-   reduced emigration and increased number of inhabitants;

-   increased cross-border co-operation.

4.1.3 Broad summary of the vision for the site

The project envisages the rehabilitation and enhancement of the Nistru riverbank into an urban space that is attractive and vibrant. This implies that it needs to be physically renovated, in part by mobilizing the citizens into direct participation, thus generating ownership and awareness. The project foresees a wide range of community actions aimed at identifying the needs and expectations of the citizens, the results of which will contribute to the final configuration of the space. These include diverse activities with people of different age and socio-cultural provenance. An individual approach will be prepared for the area in proximity of the Soroca fortress - using the monument’s symbolic value - in close association with the fortress restoration project.

The rehabilitation concept should take into consideration the separate zones of the riverbank (described at 2.1 Depiction of the site and its components).

4.2 Elaboration of the project

The key element for project implementation will comprise of the work of the Local Stakeholders Group (LSG) who will be consulted and involved directly in the process. The role of the LSG is also to ensure step-by-step supervision and transparency of the process, replacing outdated modes of implementing development projects. The group will include representatives from local authorities, different sectors of the community, NGOs, residents of the riparian area, and the cultural sector.

Project implementation will take four years, the first of which is preparatory, and will focus on analysis of the existing challenges, seeking proposals for solutions through a series of activities with the community and with technical experts. During the second year, the technical rehabilitation project will be developed, and during years three and four the project will enter into its practical phase, with works taking place.

Technical steps and drawings are described in 4.2.1 Activity 6: Elaboration of the Technical Rehabilitation Project.

4.2.1 Assessment of activities

Activity 1

Name of activity: Launch event

Timeline: first month of the project implementation

Description:  The project will be announced at a launch conference, organized by partners with the participation of various stakeholders: funders, partners, local NGOs, local and national press, cultural institutions, civic actors and inhabitants, possible donors. The aim is to present the overall and specific objectives of the project, the expected activities and desired results, steps and timing.

                        After the launch conference, the participants will be invited at the Nistru riverbank, where, together with local inhabitants, they will take part in a public health campaign event, gathering rubbbish and cleaning up the riverbank. This will also serve as a media event aiming to raise awareness concerning the need to improve the open spaces along the river.          

Deliverables: publications, press release

Estimated costs: €2,000

Activity 2

Name of activity: Analysing existing challenges and requirements

Timeline: 6 months

Description: The first six months of the project will determine the local community needs and requirements. A group of local stakeholders will be set up to participate in working meetings and to debate which elements of the site should be capitalized in the future. The outcome of their activities will be incorporated in the ‘Task Book’ and in ‘Technical project’.

Deliverables: Meetings reports

Estimated costs: €700

Activity 3

Name of activity: Organization of community-involvement activities

Timeline: 6 months (in parallel with activity II)

Description: two community events will be organised:

-    a cultural event (e.g. the “Water festival”) involving local schools and the artistic community will be organized in the medieval area of the site. The aim is to draw attention to the need to improve the open spaces and bring together inhabitants;

-    an ethnic event: the “Ethnic Festival” which is organized every year will be carried out at the riverbank with participation of local ethnical minorities (Roma, Jewish, Ukrainians, etc.);

-    a sports event to be organized along the whole length of the riverbank to promote the need to improve the existing infrastructure and remove physical barriers.

The event should be used by technical experts as an opportunity to map the main places of interest to be capitalized in the Rehabilitation Project.

Deliverables: Reports, press release

Estimated costs: €6,000

Activity 4

Name of activity: development of the Task Book (project specifications)

Timeline: 2 months

Description: The outcomes of the activities 2 and 3 will be incorporated into a Task Book, as requested by the Beneficiary (Soroca Municipality). This will: consider recommendations from technical experts and the current FS; contain specifications; references; and, steps and suggestions for the Rehabilitation Project. It is to be approved by the Beneficiary and by local and national stakeholders. The Task Book must contain recommendations for individual approach for harnessing the territory surrounding the Medieval Fortress.

Deliverables: Task Book produced and approved by partners

Estimated costs: €1,200

Activity 5

Name of activity: Organization of an international design competition

Timeline: 4 months

Description: An international design competition will be organized based on the Project Task Book and with international assistance. The proposed design should contain design proposals and regulations for the site. The winning project will be popularized through available media channels and consultations will be held with local inhabitants and stakeholders.

Deliverables: Winning design is presented and approved by the community and stakeholders

Estimated costs: €3,000

Activity 6

Name of activity: Elaboration of the Technical Rehabilitation Project

Timeline: 7 months

Description: This activity will be contracted out. It includes the following steps:

- organization of a tender for the development of a project design. Applicants must have previous experience of landscape works in historic areas;

- obtaining the Certificate of Urbanism for the Urban Zonal Plan (including the coordination of the preliminary design with the Ministry of Culture, required notices from involved authorities);

- adoption of the Urban Zonal Plan by the municipality;

- obtaining the Certificate of Urbanism for elaboration of the Technical Rehabilitation Project;

- creation of project documentation;

- obtaining ‘ Authorization for Construction’ (including the co-ordination of the project with the Ministry of Culture and other involved authorities).

The Rehabilitation Project will be developed according to the Task Book and with obligatory participation of the LSG (at least 3 common working meetings with the LSG). It should consider the existing Restoration Project of the Soroca Fortress.

Deliverables: The Zonal Urban Plan and the Technical Rehabilitation project are developed and approved by partners.

Estimated costs: €100,000

Activity 7

Name of activity: Rehabilitation works for the Nistru riverbank

Timeline: 20 months

Description: A tender for the rehabilitation works will be prepared. A contract for carrying out restoration works will be signed and all necessary authorizations obtained. The procedure will take about 3 weeks. Following this, restoration works will start, according to the provisions of the technical project. In order to ensure that the rehabilitation works are conducted to appropriate standards, a certified technical expert will be appointed to oversee quality implementation, until project sign-off.

Deliverables: The site is improved according to the terms of the Rehabilitation Project.

Estimated costs: €1,627,000

Activity 8

Name of activity: Organization of project management, monitoring and evaluation

Timeline: Years 1, 2, 3, 4 throughout project implementation

Description: Monitoring activities will be organized throughout the project by the implementation team, according to the requirements of the main funding partner. This will include working and monitoring meetings, during which the progress of the project will be examined in terms of expenditure, use of resources, implementation of activities, delivery of results and any risks that may arise.

                          The management process will set out terms for close collaboration between the PIU and the LSG, which will work together to solve common issues and propose solutions. During these meetings, activity reports will be presented, actions for risk mitigation will be proposed and official reports will be developed. Information notes and narrative and financial reports in accordance with the requirements of the donors will be produced. Obtaining signature of co-operation between Moldova and Ukraine for activities in the border area will be a key task (see 3.1).

Deliverables: Financial and progress reports, according to the requirements of the funder

Estimated costs: €49,800

Activity 9

Name of activity: Capacity building

Timeline: throughout project implementation

Description: organization of a study visit to a similar site for learning good practices; a summer school involving a workshop with local and foreign students to promote open-air arts and crafts.

Deliverables: 1 study visits, 1 summer school organized

Estimated costs: €6,500

Activity 10

Name of activity: Organization of Promotional Activities

Timeline: Years 1, 2, 3, 4 throughout the project implementation

Description: the implementation team will ensure that the project is always highly visible, communicating its results through various tools: mass media and social media, blog, promotional leaflets and brochures, promotional events for fundraising (with potential investors, etc.).

Deliverables: 1 project leaflet, 1 project blog, social media pages, 2 brochures, press releases, reportages at local and national TV stations, 1 event organized

Estimated costs: €5,500

Activity 11

Name of activity: Organization of the Final Event

Timeline: last month of the project implementation

Description: The Final Event will be organized by partners at the end of the project. It is a formal meeting to present results and to validate the project with the community.

Deliverables: publications, press release

Estimated costs: €500

Total estimated, activities I-XI – €1,802,200

4.2.2 Budget appraisal

Broad assessment of necessary rehabilitation works and their costs:

No

Description of restoration and repair works (according to the restoration project)

Estimated costs, MDL

Estimated costs €

1

Public Health works

142,000

2

Demolition of the concrete parapet

20,000

3

Repair of the pedestrian area, 3.08 km of road within the historic area

477,400

4

Improvement of the pedestrian area, outside the historic centre, 0.95 km

91,600

5

Repair of the transport access

166,000

6

Repair and improvement of the access stairs to the river, including the shore

230,000

7

Landscape improvement works, equipment

500,000

Total estimated costs

1,627,000

4.2.3 Listing of possible funding sources

In order to attract investment for restoration works, the following financing bodies may be considered:

-    national and regional development funds;

-    international and cross-border co-operation funds;

-    donations, crowdfunding;

-    local funds of the city and of the district of Soroca;

-    private investors.

4.2.4 Investment recovery assessment

These include:

-    organization of seasonal fairs;

-    local and international festivals;

-    sports events;

-    retail, catering, workshops.

4.2.5 Environment and social foreseen impact

These include:

-    increased attractiveness of the riverbank for the citizen of Soroca;

-    increased quality of life, improved environment;

-    development of tourism activities and services;

-    increased attractiveness for local and international investors;

-    diversified cultural, social and entertainment offer in the city; development of creative activities;

-    better social inclusion and participation;

-    a good example for similar sites in the country.

4.2.6 Risks

Referring to the rehabilitation process:

-    lack of extensive documentation before formulating the proposal for intervention;

-    construction works focusing on the renewal of the surfacing of the street, without considering the surrounding open spaces;

-    outdated design, which is not in keeping with the requirements of modern communities;

-    lack of fruitful co-operation between the community, the local authorities, national and local experts;

-    lack of highly qualified expertise (restoration specialists, landscape architects, economists, etc.);

-    poor quality work, cheap materials, outdated technologies, etc.;

-    ownership / transparency issues;

-    conflict of interests, favouring private interests over community needs;

-    failure to comply with internationally accepted methods and practices;

-    natural phenomena – floods, pests (mosquitos);

-    pollution – the industrial area, the city sewerage, the brooks;

-    ground water management (humidity migration, ponding, capillarity flows of water);

-    thermal fluctuations.

Concerning the investment project:

-    financial issues, high costs;

-    failure to define and implement a sustainable vision for the development of the site;

-    failure to secure funding;

-    failure to recover investment and meet expectations;

-    lack of fruitful cooperation and co-ordination between partners.

Concerning the post-rehabilitation management:

-    inefficient use of resulting facilities;

-    vandalism, looting, destruction of services, low levels of civic engagement and lack of education;

-    inappropriate use of surrounding buildings;

-    inadequate institutional support;

-    intensive usage and visiting;

-    failure to protect sites.

4.3 Development scenarios

The following scenarios are possible for the further development:

-    No action - the worst-case scenario: exacerbation of the ecologic issues and continuous degradation of the public space;

-    Rehabilitation - the proposed scenario: all the activities described above, including training, visibility and promotion activities.

4.4 Management and sustainability

The project is implemented by a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) responsible for planning, organizing the process, monitoring and visibility. The PIU is composed of long-term and short-term experts, involved for delivering certain tasks within the project. The activity of the PIU will include tasks such as internal meetings to ensure the timely delivery of tasks according to the planned schedule. Highly specialised activities will be managed by a specific coordinator, supervised and supported by the main expert.

The PIU is composed from the following members:

-   a Project Manager, representing the main investing partner, responsible for co-ordinating project activities, including promotional activities;

-   a representative of the local authority;

-   a representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction;

-   a representative of the Ministry of Culture;

-   a representative of the Ministry of Environment.

A group of local stakeholders (LSG) will be set up to support and assist the implementation. The group will be composed of representatives from the following entities:

-    local authorities of the first and second level, elected representatives;

-    cultural and tourism departments;

-    cultural and artistic sector, theatres, libraries, museums;

-    education institutions;

-    ethnic and age groups and communities;

-    inhabitants of the riparian area;

-    local business, tourism agencies;

-    civil society sector, NGOs.

The LSG will meet six times during the first year to debate and decide on needs and requirements of the site. It will offer support and its recommendations will be incorporated into the rehabilitation project.

4.5 Assessment of viability

The rehabilitation of the Nistru riverbank will have a positive impact on local development and on the communities living in Soroca. It will become a vibrant public space bringing together citizens of different age groups and nationalities, attracting tourists interested in the varied recreational activities on offer. Broader effects of the project will include an improved image of the city, reduced emigration, especially of the younger population, and an improved environment and higher levels of social inclusion.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Weaknesses

- Good location in the historic centre of Soroca

- The Soroca Fortress is a landmark with high historic and identity value

- A motivated and active community

- A diverse target-group

- Large open spaces that can hold a high capacity, strong potential for hosting entertainment and leisure activities

- Flat relief along the entire riverbank – highly suitable for bike lane

- Proximity and access to main city public spaces

 

- Poor physical condition

- Serious ecological issues

- Natural risks in the northern and southern parts of the site

- Lack of available funds

- Poor institutional capacity

- Inefficient use of the existing assets

- Physical barriers, fragmentation of the site

- Lack of inter-institutional cooperation and involvement

- A number of streets have dead-ends before reaching the riverbank

Opportunities

Threats

- Soroca city is part of “Dniester” Euro-region

- Good accessibility and connectivity to national roads

- Neighbouring areas with high touristic potential (the Bechir’s Cliff natural reserve, the Roma Hill)

- Neighbouring areas with recreational potential (the summer recreational camp, the nautical sports camp)

- Availability of potential co-operation partners, including international

- Cities with other medieval fortresses situated in the proximity – possible inclusion in medieval tours

- Proximity of many public institutions

- Development of tourism services in the city – the riverbank could become a part of a local touristic route

- Highly skilled manufacturers – possibility to organize workshops and promote local crafts

- Lack of efficient co-operation among partners

- Lack of support from local and national authorities

- Political instability

- Incorrect implementation of the legislation

- Lack of skills for project management

Although the weaknesses and threats of the investment project are important issues which need to be carefully addressed, the potential of rehabilitation outweighs them and the benefits for the local community are significant.

5. Bibliography

1.     Multi-Ethnic Built Heritage in West Ukraine and Moldova – a Challenge for Urban Planning and Development, Volume V, Bo Larsson, Gorag Skoog, Lund University, Sweden, 2006

2.     Retro Soroca, Ion Ștefăniță, Nicolae Bulat, ”Continental Grup SRL”, Chișinău 2012

3.     Newsletter of the project "Integrated revitalization of historic cities for sustainable polycentric development " within the INTERREG III B Neighborhood Programme CADES, Chisinau 2007

4.     Orasul Soroca Istorie si contemporaneitate, Vasile Trofaila, Chisinau 2007

5.     Study on the situation of Moldovan historic towns, Nesterov Tamara, Chișinău 2007

6.     Soroca Urban General Plan, Chișinău 2011

7.     The Strategy for Social-Economic Development of Soroca 2015-2020, Soroca 2015

8.     The State Archive of Soroca

Legal acts:

1.     Law no. 436-XVI of 28.12.2006on Local Public Administration

2.     Law no. 1530 of 22.06.1993_ on Monuments Preservation

3.     Government Decision no. 73 of 31.01.2014 on the approval of the Regulation of Organization and Functioning of the National Council of Historical Monuments

4.     Law no. 83-86 of 05.08.1999 on Culture

5.     The Land Code of the Republic of Moldova

6.     Law no. 215 of 04.11.2011 on the State border of the Republic of Moldova

7.     Law no. 283 of 28.12.2011 on the State Border Police

8.     Law no. 440 of 27.04.1995 on Protected Areas and Strips of Rivers and Water Basins

9.     Law no. 1538 of 25.02.1998 on State Protected Natural Areas

10.  Law no. 721 of 02.02.1996 on Quality of Constructions

11.  Law no. 835 of 17.05.1996 on the Principles of Urbanism and Spatial Planning

12.  Note of 21.04.2016 on amending the Criminal Code and the Contravention Code

Annexes

Annex 1: Timeline and estimated budget for activities

Name of activity

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Responsible

Estimated costs, EUR

I

Launch event

PIU

2,000.00

II

Analysing existing challenges and requirements of the project area

PIU+PLG

700

III

Organization of community-involvement activities

One cultural event

PIU+LSG

2,000.00

One sports event

PIU+LSG

2,000.00

One ethnic event

PIU+LSG

2,000.00

Subtotal community involvement activities

PIU+LSG

6,000.00

IV

Elaboration of the Task Book (project specifications)

PIU

1,200.00

V

Organization of an international design competition

PIU

3,000.00

VI

Elaboration of the Technical Rehabilitation Project

Organization of a tender for development of the project design

PIU

Obtaining the Certificate of Urbanism for the Urban Zonal Plan

Subcontracted

0

Adoption of the Urban Zonal Plan by the municipality

Subcontracted

0

Obtaining the Certificate of Urbanism for elaboration of the Technical Rehabilitation Project

Subcontracted

0

Development of the project documentation (including PUZ)

Subcontracted

100,000.00

Obtaining the Authorization for Construction

Subcontracted

0

Subtotal Technical Rehabilitation Project

PIU

100,000.00

VII

Rehabilitation works for the Nistru riverbank

Subcontracted

1,627,000.00

VIII

Organization of project management, monitoring and evaluation

PIU

49,800.00

IX

Capacity building

Organization of a study visit

PIU

2,500.00

Organization of a summer school

PIU+LSG

4,000.00

Subtotal capacity building

6,500.00

X

Organization of Promotional Activities

Printed materials (leaflet, brochures, film)

2,000.00

Web (website, social media)

3,000.00

News release (local media, newsletter)

500.00

Fundraising event

0

Subtotal promotional activities

PIU

5,500.00

XI

Organization of the Final Event

PIU

500.00

Total estimated costs

1,802,200.00

Annex 2: Historic images

The Soroca Fortress and the Synagogue (now demolished) during the 19th century Images of the Soroca Fortress and the Nistru riverbank during the Tsarist Period

Annex 3: Additional images

The access stairs linking the river to the city are damaged and unattractiveMalul Nistrului street is in poor physical condition: the road surface is damaged and the vegetation is unkemptThe public spaces along the Nistru riverbank could host small and large recreational activities, but are currently neglected