Piotr Uszok: Present investments as absolute priority

Piotr Uszok, the mayor of Katowice, told to katowicethecity.com about the City’s intention and plans for the future. The mayor referred to priorities of the City, IBM recommendations, new strategy of promotion and investments. The full conversation is available below.

katowicethecity.com: As we already know, the City of Katowice implements recommendations of IBM managers prepared within the last year’s Executive Service Corps initiative. These are, for example, the City promotion and appointment of the Economic Council. Which of the other recommendations have a chance to be implemented in the nearest future?

Piotr Uszok: The offer of IBM embraced many interesting solutions, which would definitely help Katowice to develop. Among them are a reporting system, so called „CPR”, and shared service centers. Not only private companies implement the last solution, but more and more often some cities. However, it needs changes in the present legal system to use it for Katowice. The service center would help, for example, to rearrange a finance service or material supplies for the City. We are very interested in these ideas. Also, IBM proposed an intelligent transportation system, which is necessary to a proper development and operation of the transportation services and has to be taken into consideration in the nearest future. Additionally, some computer programs and applications as JAM-forums designed to an on-line communication with the Internet society, seem very interesting. It is worth to mention that the City Hall’s computer scientists already work on some of these solutions. But we have to remember the implementation of the IBM’s ideas and its scale will depend on the City’s finance capabilities. However, I would like to implement some of the solutions by the end of this presidency in 2014.

What will be the role of Katowice during the upcoming Polish presidency in the European Union?

For the present, we know about one session concerning energy and coal issues. The event will be organized by the Silesian voivode. The City Hall of Katowice is going to prepare a conference „Education and culture”. Additionally, one more conference will take place in the City, but it is to soon to disclose details.

When will the Spatial Development Plans for the Market Square – Roundabout area and the cultural district be in force? These documents define investments outlines and help investors to plan.

The Spatial Development Plan for the Market Square – Roundabout area is under preparation and should be valid by the end of this year. The Plan for the cultural district near “Spodek”, planned building’s location and the new road system, was prepared by the Katowice Branch of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP Katowice).

The City Hall wants to prepare a new promotional strategy. Who will be responsible for the document’s preparation and what will the new strategy be?

A Terms of Reference (SIWZ), essential to issue an invitation to tender, is being worked up at present. A private company chosen in a tender procedure will prepare the strategy. The company will have to cooperate and to consult the strategy’s assumptions with the City Hall, Prof. Andrzej Barczak of the Economic Council and Prof. Tadeusz Sławek, chairman of the Katowice Program Council of European Capital of Culture (ESK 2016). We want the strategy would emphasize the economic and cultural matters of the City as well as the promotion in general and the public image’s change. The last report of PricewaterhouseCoopers concerning the biggest Polish cities said that Katowice had a high note for culture activities but the City’s image was low-marked. This is what we want to change the most. At the same time, the new strategy has to refer to the previous activities, we do not want to stand out of the present promotion.

What about other investments planned by the City in the years to come, i.e. the bus station on Sądowa Street and the „GKS Katowice” football stadium?

A functional and spatial framing of the bus station project is being designed now. The City Hall would like to run the investment on the private-public partnership (PPP). If we talk about the stadium, we already included the opinion of fans. They asked us to increase the final capacity and to close the stadium’s structure by building the corners. Also, we still regulate land matters.

In spite of quite good financial status of Katowice, it is essential to remember that some budget deficit’s reduction may be implemented not due to the fault of the City. If the bank loan is limited, we will have to cover the investments’ expenditures using internal funds. For that reason, the most important are the Market Square – Roundabout area’s redevelopment, and investments in the cultural district – the new seats of International Convention Center, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the road system in the district. This is an absolute priority which will define the expenditures on the other investments.