Vélez-Málaga is to receive 10 million euros of European Union funding for a project to develop and promote the old part of the town centre.
European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), known in Spanish as FEDER, are channeled through the Ministry of Finance and known as Integrated Sustainable Urban Development (EDUSI). Their main objective is to improve quality of life in part of, or all of a city or town.
In Vélez-Málaga, the money will go to the Edusi BIC Vélez group, which was formed to apply for the funds and is made up of town hall staff who consulted residents and residents’ organisations.
The EU money forms 80 per cent of the total investment in the project, with Vélez-Málaga town hall providing the other two million euros.
The money, which was the maximum amount the town had hoped for in its application, will go towards individual projects in Vélez-Málaga old town as well as other historic landmarks in the district. Vélez-Málaga old town is recognised by the Junta de Andalucía as an area of cultural interest.
Specific projects include the restoration of the Arabic fort in the town, the old Castillo de Torre del Mar and the ten watch towers that fall within the district, with a view to promoting them as tourist attractions.
A further project proposed by the town hall is its acquisition of the Real Monasterio Nuestra Señora monastery, otherwise known as ‘Las Claras’, on Calle Félix Lomas. Although the plans for the monastery are yet to be confirmed, the town hall would like to transform it into a cultural hub.
Deputy mayor of Vélez-Málaga, Marcelino Méndez-Trelles, said earlier this week that the town could see “a profound transformation” thanks to the money. Councillor for Employment, Mará José Roberto, added that the end objective of the EDUSI plan is to “create employment”.
Vélez-Málaga missed out on EDUSI funds in the first round in October 2016, when 40 million euros went to Malaga city, Estepona, Nerja, Antequera, Ardales, Álora and Abdalajis.
ERDF money is awarded to areas within EU countries for regional development projects.