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Future of Digomi Forest-Park is Unclear

By Levan Khutsishvili
Wednesday, August 8
On August 3, Rustavi 2 reported that a large-scale construction would launch soon in Digomi Forest Park. Kakha Kaladze gave construction company “Anagi” prior permission to build a multi-functional building in the forest-park area.

Civil activist Anna Gabriadze believes that Anagi is progressing its plans. Besides, the roadside of the Digomi forest-park, the company owns the area directly in the woods. At this time, it is confirmed that a new multifunctional building will be built on the Digomi highway instead of "Kia Motors" building and nearby. The City Hall has not stated the specific location yet.

The City Hall started discussions 2-3 months ago to preserve the status of the public-business zone for the roadside. According to the original variant of the General Land Use Plan of Tbilisi, the Digomi forest-park had to have a landscape-recreational status along the front line, which would prohibit any new construction there.

Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Maia Bitadze confirmed the information about new construction:

“Prophylactic that already excites on the territory will be demolished and new multi-functional center that includes orangeries and exhibition hall will be constructed,” – said Deputy Mayor.

According to the new General Plan of Tbilisi, Digomi Forest-Park will have landscape-recreation zone status, that means that all kind of constructions will be forbidden there, and territory will be developed as a green space, but City Hall faces a challenge - according to the official information significant part of the territory is private property. The city government has begun negotiations with the owners of the lands to return Digomi forest-park in municipal ownership. So far it is unknown how successful the negotiations are. According to Maia Bitadze, some owners agreed on alternative lands and compensations, but almost half of the Digomi forest-park (around 10 hectares) is divided between more than 30 private owners. Mamuka Salukvadze, one of the authors of General Land Use Plan of Tbilisi says that Tbilisi City Hall will need to mobilize a significant amount of money for the redemption of the private territories. As for the planned construction, according to Mamuka Salukvadze, the area has a different status; therefore, in the General Plan, it is not considered as a landscape-recreation zone.

The City Hall says that Digomi Forest-Park will have landscape-recreation status and that all kinds of constructions will be forbidden there, but the territory where “Kia Motors” and other buildings are already standing, alongside the highway, have different zone status, and accordingly, construction of new multifunctional complex is legal. But activists, part of the population and opposition deputies of City Assembly, underline the factor of Bidzina Ivanishvili, as “Anagi” is the company that replants trees for his Dendrological Park. They assume that “Anagi” might construct buildings in the forest as well, as the company owns the territory there, and according to them if it happens, it will utterly destroy ecosystem in the woods and will change the functions of one of the most important green spaces in Tbilisi.