The saying 'third time lucky' can now be applied to six towns in Malaga which are finally to be granted European funds to promote integrated sustainable urban development under the EDUSI scheme. After their two previous applications were turned down, their modified projects have finally received enough points to be approved in the third assignment of funds, which the ministry of Finance published details of this week. It means that Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Cártama and Rincón de la Victoria will receive about 50 million euros between them for different projects.
The town which is to receive the highest amount of funding is Marbella, with 15 million euros, followed by Fuengirola and Benalmádena, with ten million each. Torremolinos is to be given 6,210,041 euros, Cártama five million and Rincón de la Victoria 3,05,020. Three towns have been disappointed, however, and will receive no funding at all: Alhaurín el Grande, which applied for the money for sustainable tourism projects and wanted to become a ‘smart city’, Ronda, which had hoped to carry out improvements costing five million euros to its historic town centre, and Alhaurín de la Torre, which had plans for 13 projects including social housing and public transport. However, they have now been placed on a ‘reserve list’ in case more funds become available before the end of June 2019.
Marbella will be using some of its 15 million euros to finance its ‘Sustainable Town’ project, which includes improving run-down areas in different districts. As in all cases, the town hall will pay 20 per cent of the cost. The remaining funds will be used on energy efficiency, mobility and social infrastructure projects.
In Fuengirola, most of the funding will be used to improve the El Boquetillo district of the town. “We are carrying out several projects for physical, economic and social regeneration of the area,” says the mayor, Ana Mula. These include a large social centre and setting up training and integration courses.
Most of the money received by Benalmádena will be spent on its coastal area, where the tourism sector has been calling for improvements for years. The council plans to remodel Avenida Antonio Machado and create a semi-pedestrian boulevard there. There are also plans to improve street lighting, open the Roman remains of BenalRoma to the public and create a green corridor across the municipality.
Torremolinos applied for ten million euros from the EDUSI funds and is to receive just over half: 6.2 million. The mayor, José Ortiz, says this is a “historic occasion” because it is the first time Torremolinos has received EU funds. “It shows support for the way we are transforming the town and it means we will have considerably more resources and can do much more,” he says. The grant has come as a great relief to the town hall, which has a debt of about 200 million euros. The redevelopment of the oldest part of the town centre, which is being converted into a pedestrian area, and the creation of a periurban park are some of the projects for which the EU money will be used.
In Cártama, the council plans to carry out work on the archaeological site in the Plaza de la Constitución, continue the avenue to Estación de Cártama as far as the bridge over the river and improve the appearance of the centre of the village.
Rincón de la Victoria council had applied for five million euros and has been granted 3,105,020. It plans to develop traditional shopping facilities, close some streets to traffic and invest in electric and hybrid vehicles, says the mayor, Francisco Salado. This is also the first time that Rincón has succeeded in obtaining EU funds to finance projects.
Malaga city is to receive 15 million euros in EDUSI funds, while the villages associated with the Caminito del Rey will be given ten million and Estepona and Vélez-Málaga will also receive ten million euros each. Nerja has been granted five million euros.
Contributors to this report: Nieves Castro, Alberto Gómez, Iván Gelibter, Fernando Torres, Eugenio Cabezas and Vanessa Melgar.