Special attention is paid to the unique park: the renewal of Ąžuolynas Park is officially starting in Kaunas

The largest oak grove in Europe in the urban area will soon experience a real renaissance. Kaunas City Municipality concluded a contract for the works of Ąžuolynas Park with the company “Kauno Keliai”, which won the tender. 5.6 million euros is planned for the improvement and reconstruction of infrastructure from EU funds, Government and Municipal budgets. Renovation of recreational spaces and adaptation to the needs of citizens and tourists will start already in August.

Careful preparation for reconstruction

Kaunas Ąžuolynas is not only a favorite place for walks or recreation for Kaunas residents and guests, but also an object included in the register of immovable cultural values and the European network of protected areas “Natura 2000”. The greatest value of the park is the old common oaks and the incests that live in them – gloomy golden beetles. Therefore, the preparations for the renewal of the park were prepared very responsibly.

“We are consistently working to make the city parks attractive for both a quite respite in the shade of the trees and for active leisure, sports or events. In a few years, almost ten green spaces have been revived in Kaunas. Kaunas residents have needed this for a long time, so it is fun to see how willingly people visit and spend time in parks. Now it is the turn of the city’s pride – Ąžuolynas Park.

Here, the upgrading of the infrastructure is necessary, but in this case it is carried out with great care and calculation. All works are planned so that oaks and other rare plants, endangered bird and beetle species living here do not suffer. Only small equipment will be used for the works and the recommendations of environmentalists will be strictly followed”, said Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis.

A solid investment for an exceptional object

In order to avoid a negative impact on natural values, the reconstruction project was prepared in cooperation with specialists and experts of the Lithuanian Society of Dendrologists, protected areas, the State Forest Service and other. The comments and suggestions of Kaunas residents were also taken into account.

The company “Kauno Keliai”, which has won the public tender, undertakes to renovate Ąžuolynas Park within 22 months. When carrying out the improvement of the park infrastructure on the area of 62.6 hectares, the company will have to follow the park management and protection measures provided in “Kauno Planas”. All this will allow for the proper protection of the natural heritage – centuries-old oaks and biodiversity.

“Ąžuolynas Park is a pride of national significance, therefore we are glad that its maintenance is important not only for the city, but also for the state. We received generous financial income from EU funds, and the Government provided additional funds. A total of about 5.67 million euros will be invested in the reconstruction of the park in the heart of the city”, continued V. Matijošaitis.

Overhaul of infrastructure

Renovation of the park will preserve the existing network of paths – a curved alley along the entire length of the Ąžuolynas Park with many detached and winding tracks winding between thick trees. It is planned to update the pavement of the existing asphalt paths, and the natural dirt paths will be reinforced by filling them with rubble.

Neat and conveniently located tracks will naturally encourage visitors to Ąžuolynas Park to choose dedicated routes for their walks and not to walk around the whole territory. This will provide a safe environment for oaks.

There will also be a new bike path in the park, the route of which has been adjusted to take account of valuable greenery, children’s playgrounds and pedestrian areas, taking into account the findings of dendrologists’ expertise. It was also decided to clear the sites under the old oak crowns so as not to trample the roots of the trees. A nature trail will be set up to explore biodiversity. Renewed lighting should become an additional accent.

In the park, new benches, away from the old oaks, recreation, fitness and children’s playgrounds, will greet visitors. For the convenience of Kaunas residents and city guests, two public toilets will be installed in Ąžuolynas Park, existing bridges will be repaired and other infrastructure of the park will be renewed. The work plan envisages the installation of stairs to Tunelio st. and Radvilėnų st. on helical foundations instead of the existing wise path.

Strict quality control

During the reconstruction period, regular technical and environmental supervision of the project implementation, construction will be performed. Representatives of “Kauno Planas” and independent environmental experts who have prepared the project will carry out constant control so that the work performed by the contractor will proceed exactly according to the plan. It is planned to check the quality of both the performed construction works and the used construction materials and equipment and compliance with the strict requirements.

The works will be carried out using only small machinery and environmentally friendly technologies, and the passages of the construction transport are planned at safe distances from the protected trees dating back several centuries.

Arborists have been working for the second year

In 2019, a nature management plan has been prepared for Kaunas Ąžuolynas Park and approved by the order of the Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Mažeika, the aim of which is to restore and ensure a suitable environment for the habitats of gloomy golden beetles and to provide the necessary measures.

For the second year in a row, arborists are performing the correction and strengthening of protected tree crowns and removal of fry branches in Ąžuolynas Park. Specialists take care of the improvement of the soil under the oaks by fertilizing, loosening and mulching, opening the openings of protected trees, removal of masonry, concrete residues and other debris.

In the territory of the park, the destruction of invasive ash maple maples and the cleaning of old oak poles from inferior greenery and shrubs are also carried out, thus creating favorable conditions for a new generation of oaks to establish, grow, and prolong the life of centuries-old oaks.

The revival of Ąžuolynas Park is only a part of all planned complex works. The construction of S. Darius and S. Girėnas stadium is expected to be extended soon, the reconstruction of the Kaunas Sports Hall is continuing, the reconstruction of Sporto st. square is approaching, as well as the construction of the new athletics arena and the renewal of the Song Valley.