Loshytsa Park apple tree garden to be cut down, replaced with playground

The Minsk city authorities plan to cut down the Loshytsa Park's apple trees and build a big children playground instead, according to the design plan proposed by the Minskpraekt company and approved by all departments concerned.

"Part of the 50-year old garden will be removed because no one actually needs it. Walks for pedestrians and a children town with small architectural structures will be built in that place," Uladzimir Miroshchanka told ERB.

Employees of the Minskzelenbud company, which is in charge of Loshytsa Park landscaping, and historians say that the apple trees are of no historic or cultural value. Anton Astapovich, chairman of the Belarusian Voluntary Society for the Protection of Historic and Cultural Monuments, agrees.

"The apple tree garden was planted in the 1950s and it does not have a historic and cultural heritage status. In general, the garden has no link to any historical event. But again, Minsk does not have many trees. If the garden is cut down and replaced with a building, it will be a pity," he told ERB.

Zoya Kazlouskaya, a department head Fruit Growing Institute, argues that the trees were planted in the mid 1920s close to the Prushynki Estate, stressing that there had been a garden at the same place in the late 19th century. 

"Some of the trees are as old as one hundred years," she said, adding, however, that all unique trees have been moved to the Institute's garden in Samakhvalavichy.

Miroshchanka denies that the garden has valuable trees. "We have a scientific advisor to monitor all these matters. In addition, all agencies concerned have approved the plan."

Artist Nika Sandors on July 21 staged a protest against the planned felling of the apple trees. She says the garden is the only quiet place in the city where one can pass time sitting on the grass among trees. 

Photo by Anton Matolka