Testifying to the claim that everything has finally started improving is the fact that Despotovac is visited each year by an ever increasing number of people from all over the world, both thanks to the rich cultural and historical legacy of Despot Stefan Lazarević and thanks to its natural beauty, says Municipal President Nikola Nikolić.
There have been no investment in Despotovac for decades. What can you boast of today in this area? What are all the things that you’ve done in a short period of time?
– The construction of a primary school and sports hall were the last major projects that were realised, with the help of the State, in the municipality of Despotovac. The school opened in 1997, with the sports hall opening several years later, and after that – apart from some of the most urgent activities on the maintenance of existing facilities and systems – there have been no major projects. We have available a modest budget that barely covers the most essential costs of municipal enterprises, institutions and local communities, and that doesn’t leave much room to invest in developmental projects and other infrastructure works. This, among other things, is one of the reasons for the stagnation of the previous period, while that was also influenced by unstable political circumstances, an inability to reach an agreement and a lack of adequate project documentation.
With an awareness of these facts, we devised a realistic plan of priorities at the start of the mandate, compiled design projects for the reconstruction of several important facilities, and then applied for and received significant funds, so that today we are finalising the reconstruction of the high school, health centre and culture centre – institutions that we will again use at the end of the year. Apart from that, we have established stronger cooperation with public companies Srbijaput [roads] and Srbijavode [water supply, thanks to which we’ve reconstructed 17 kilometres of the Medveđa-Vodna regional road and the Despotovac-Manasija road, with a 1.5km pedestrian-cycling lane, while we’ve embarked on the major works of consolidating and regulating of the Resava river basin.
With the help of the Ministry of Defence and company Jumco, we’ve also established a clothing factory in Resavica that currently employs 60 workers
Investments worth six million euros will be realised by the end of this year, in cooperation with the Public Investment Management Office. How and on what will these resources be spent?
– Via the Public Investment Management Office or the Government of the Republic of Serbia, we are implementing the most investments. Alongside the health centre, in which more than two million euros will be invested, and the Technical school, the reconstruction of which costs more than a million euros, the Office will invest almost 1.5 million euros in the Municipality of Despotovac for the construction of a biomass heating plant, the first of its kind in Serbia. Construction will start in April or May in the yard of the Technical School, in order for all institutions to be supplied with heating energy. There is also the prospect of increasing the capacity to enable citizens to be connected to this heating system, which is much cheaper than existing systems.
The Office has invested more than 600,000 euros in the renovation of several bridges, which – along with other investments – amounts to six million euros that we wouldn’t have been able to secure on our own. The living and working standards of citizens will increase significantly, for which I am grateful to all state bodies that supported our projects.
Are you satisfied with the level of interest among potential investors in your Industrial Zone, which covers an area of 7.5ha?
– We haven’t had any serious offers to date and – considering that this is a good space and location – I am also hereby inviting all interested parties to come to Despotovac and launch production operations. We will, I hope, offer them the best conditions.