“We have the most beautiful train station in Moravia”, says the mayor

Even though Switzerland has now become our second home, we always like coming back to the place closest to our hearts – to our hometown, to Uherský Brod. During our visits, we couldn´t help noticing positive changes the town has recently gone through – a newly renovated functionalist building of the municipal office, renovated train station, but foremost, a recently built transit terminal that allows much easier transport links of train and bus service in the town and its surrounding villages. We´ve also noticed that a recently finished terminal was financed from the Swiss-Czech Cooperation Program.

And because of this cooperation, I interviewed the mayor “The town of Comenius ” Mr. Patrik Kunčar.

  • When has the idea to build a terminal in Uherský Brod come into existence? 

The initial idea is about 10 years old. The intention to merge both bus and train stations was added to the plan of building a barrier-free transition bridge spanning the road and rail.

  • How long did it take to develop the plan how the transit terminal should look like? What did you have to take into account in its creation? 

The project of transit terminal had been growing and adjusting gradually. In the first stage, with the help of national and European subsidies, the transition bridge had been built. Then followed a period of waiting for the suitable grant project and the consequent need for tailoring the project to specific requirements of the donor. From the beginning, we have tried as much as possible to take account of barrier-free, safe movement of pedestrians, sufficient parking capacity, and facilities for cyclists.

  • Did you know from the beginning that you´d apply for a grant from the Swiss-Czech Cooperation Program, or had you been considering other financing options?

We were looking for various financing options, but the Swiss-Czech Cooperation Program focused on projects related to public transport was for us the best opportunity. For a long time our project had been “waiting in a queue”, but thanks to the good work of all people involved and also a happy coincidence, we finally got the support for our project.

  • What do you consider the main advantage of funding from the Program?

The advantage was the high proportion of subsidies, and thus our low participation, we needed only about 15% of the total price of the work from the town´s budget. Another big advantage, which became evident in the course of implementation was superior, flexible and operational cooperation with the Swiss side – thanks to it because we then managed to realize any expansion plans in the given time.

  • Who and how monitors drawing the subsidies?

Within the municipal office, we have a special Grants and urban development department. Its staff seek out and pursue appropriate grant programs, and then also provide all monitoring reports and other paperwork associated with each (not only) grant project.

  • When you found out that due to the exchange rate change you´d have more funds, did you know how to use them? What alternatives have you considered in addition to the new appearance of local bus stops?

Some of the projects we had prearranged and our only task was to convince the Swiss side of their meaningfulness and necessity. This concerned the reconstruction of so-called “Great stairs”, the data interconnections, east parking lot extensions, completion of train platforms of the railway station or reconstruction of the pavement in the street Pod Valy. We arrived at the last minute with the intention of reconstruction of bus stops,  because it would be a pity not to use project funds allocated to Uherský Brod and thus the Czech Republic. And it’s one of the best expansion plans, thanks to which Switzerland has inscribed an indelible mark on the face of the whole Uherský Brod and all its boroughs. Personally, I consider it a minor miracle that we managed to all this in record time: to design a plan, to arrange building permits, to organize construction companies’ competition and complete all the construction works on time.

  • How much are you satisfied with the final result?

Fantastic 🙂 And it’s not just my opinion – Spontaneously, wherever I come, people come to tell me how gorgeous the terminal in Uherský Brod is.

  • Is there anything you would do differently?

I’m trying to think if something could have been done differently, but I really can´t think of anything. Everything worked to perfection and the result is worth it.

  • Nearby the transit terminal, there is a newly renovated train station, which won the second place in the competition for the most beautiful station in the Czech Republic. Don´t you feel a bit sorry about this, regarding the fact, that no one ever talks about those who ended on the second place? 

You know I´m a little bit sorry, but if you realize that the first station is located in northern Bohemia, so Uherský Brod can proudly boast the title “the most beautiful Moravian Station” 🙂

  • What brings 2017 to Uherský Brod?

We have over 100 mils. CZK ready for investments this year. In addition to the reconstruction of some local roads and many paths, we plan to annex of the gym of the Elementary School in Újezdec, reconstruction of sports hall in Havřice, the construction of the first of two bridges on the housing estate Olšava, regeneration of the oldest part of the housing estate Pod Vinohrady, roundabout on Freedom Square, the reconstruction of the public lighting and many other.

  • If you had to invite visitors from Switzerland to Uherský Brod, what would you (besides the new transit terminal) proudly show?

“Great stairway”, refurbished bus stops, newly renovated building of the municipal office in the functionalist style, Museum of J.A.Comenius and of course, the well-preserved city walls and all the cultural monuments, which – thanks to the diligence and skills of our ancestors – we have in Uherský Brod.

  • Is there anything else you´d want to say to your expatriates in Switzerland?

Great thanks and gratitude for the support that we have – thanks to the Swiss-Czech Cooperation Program – received for Uherský Brod. They were really very effectively and meaningfully expended funds that make Swiss Confederation honor and good name in the Czech Republic. But it is always best to see in real – so come to visit Uherský Brod! 🙂

I would once again like to thank the mayor for the interview, which was created for the magazine “Zpravodaj”, published to Czechs and Slovaks living in Switzerland.

If you want to read more of this interview series please sign up for my blog in the top right-hand corner of this page. Thank you 🙂

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Categories: Czechia, Interviews, Life
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Hana Hurábová

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