The President of Georgia visited completed infrastructure projects and also observed the works in progress

The President of Georgia visited Kutaisi today and observed the construction work in progress. Mikheil Saakashvili also viewed the construction of the Parliament building, scheduled to be completed in 2012. As he mentioned, the relocation of the Parliament building to Kutaisi will revive the city and the bleak situation that was present in Kutaisi four-five years ago, will remain in the past. Mikheil Saakashvili considers that the current construction projects are a prerequisite to motivation and prosperity for Kutaisians.

"We saw today that construction is ahead of schedule by several weeks. This is truly a historic process. The Parliament building we are constructing here will be the most modern in the world. The Chamber of Control has already been built as well as the Palace of Justice and the new building of the Representation of the Government of Georgia - the glass cube. However, the most important thing is that psychology is changing in our country. By relocating Parliament to Kutaisi, from a social-economic point of view, the city will draw an abundance of new energy. Of course, this will help in overcoming the hopeless situation which was present here three to five years ago. Back then, I personally doubted whether we would be able to do anything about it. It is true that there are still many social problems in this city and the relocation of Parliament will not solve them all, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. In spite of the challenges, the rebuilding of Georgia is going on at a remarkable pace" - noted Mikheil Saakashvili.

The President also recalled a recent story, about a Dutch tourist who had a conversation with the first lady of Georgia. In spite of being amazed by Georgian hospitality, the courtesy of the Georgian Police Patrol and the sights in general, he regarded the President as an odd person. The tourist thought that what is being done in Batumi and Kutaisi is the President's fantasy and is not appropriate for Georgia. The guest also noted that he had not seen any cyclists on the new bicycle lanes. According to Mikheil Saakashvili "Some tourists think that they can only see good and beautiful things in the Netherlands, France and Italy and that the only way we can hope to impress others is with our hospitality and kindheartedness but there will soon be an infrastructure in Georgia similar to those in the developed countries."

"Where will a cyclist come from if you don't build a lane for one?! The fact that our government is functioning, the country is being rebuilt, and we are not standing still, makes the Police Patrol efficient. We will catch up to the Netherlands and other countries as well, even outrun them. Of course all of these things demand time and we need patience. We are not only opening a bicycle lane in Kutaisi today but we are starting to fundamentally reconstruct the city center, the main square is changing completely, the church of Bagrat is being beautifully renovated and the process of turning the city completely green has already begun. I think that the city should be greener, especially areas such as the auto factory neighborhood and Agmashenebeli Avenue...The people living there should be pleased, but this cannot be accomplished only by building bicycle lanes and planting palm trees. We need the most important item - jobs. All of these things are interconnected: The more beautiful the city, the more investments it will draw. More investments mean that more jobs will appear; the future opportunities of this city are incredible (transferring the Parliament will also help) which brings motivation to develop production, business, service and in conclusion, for people to have a better life." - said the President.

Mikheil Saakashvili opened a 6 kilometer new bicycle lane at Agmashenebeli Avenue. The President traveled the first three kilometers of this lane with the first lady and their sons, which were later joined by young Kutaisians. Aside from the bicycle lane, the length of which will eventually reach 40 kilometers, the stone walkway was also built for people who enjoy walking and has a park with beautifully decorative lights as well.

"A few days ago I was watching a video clip about Kutaisi. I personally know Kutaisi and of course the Kutaisians know their city, but if Tbilisians, Zugdidians and Georgians living abroad were to watch the clip they might ask: Which country is that? Where is it? And at the end of the clip, when the screen shows "I love Kutaisi" their jaws would drop in surprise. We do not yet have a life that would fit this boulevard with palm trees, but we have to start somewhere, right? We cannot watch miserable streets of the city all the time... can we? The streets should have lighting; the schools should be organized and run like the schools in the Netherlands. New production facilities should be opened and then everything else will fall into place" - noted the President.

According to Mikheil Saakashvili, such walkways are being built all over the country. As he noted, this infrastructure is not only being built for aesthetic beauty, but it promotes the adoption of a healthy life style, both of which are equally significant to the process of bringing up the new generation. It is also important for those whose means of transportation are bicycles, and there are a lot of people like that in villages, said the President.

"Similar bicycle lanes are being built in Rustavi, we already have a 25 kilometer lane for bicycle enthusiasts in Batumi, but it will reach 60 kilometers; we will also have approximately a 30 kilometer portion at the Tbilisi Sea and Digomi, and we are building a 35 kilometer portion around Tbilisi. A similar bicycle lane will reach 200 kilometers in the Samegrelo Region; we will also have bicycle lanes at several places in Kakheti and there are more to come. Bicycling is a European tradition and an essential part of a healthy life style. This may seem to be a small factor in our lives but we should all promote acceptance and implementation of a healthy life style- beginning with me and the governors as an example and continuing with mayors and other influential people. There will be many bicycle lanes to make children and their mothers happy which is supported by the fact that currently in Samtredia and Abasha, people actively use bicycles in spite of the fact that they don't have roads fit for it" - noted Mikheil Saakashvili. 

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