By Katya Gubarev, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Thursday of December 9th was an important day for the growth of Barra de Tijuca. The first construction has started to prepare the city for the 2016 Olympics and Paraolympic Games with the development the grounds for the Parque Olimpico Cidade do Rock (Olympic Park City of Rock), on the avenue of Salvador Allende in Jacarepaguá, the West Zone of the city.
With the return of the world famous festival of Rock in Rio, the area that was idle since the last event in 2001 is being evolved. The new city mayor Eduardo Paes is committed to invest R$37 million over the period of nine months to build the infrastructure that the music festival will enjoy between September 23 and October 2, 2011.
“Since I won the election for the Mayorship of Rio, my intention was to bring the Rock in Rio back. When we won the bid to host the Olympics, we committed to building the Olympic Park. Therefore, we decided to advance the negotiation with the Rock in Rio and hasten the construction of the Park to make the event possible,” said Paes during the official launch of the construction.
The tenth edition of the festival that started in 1985 will return to the place of its birth in Jacarepaguá after spending ten years in Portugal and Spain. For the event in 2011, Rock in Rio will spend R$90 million to mount the Cidade do Rock (City of Rock), using 150 million cubic meters from the total area of 250 million cubic meters destined to be the Olympic Park in 2016.
It is estimated that over 600,000 people will attend the festival, attracted by the City of Rock’s World, Sunset, and Electronics stages with major national and international musicians and DJs. The grounds will also include the Fashion Area, the Rock Street inspired by New Orleans jazz concerts, a hospital, a mall with 30 shops, and amusement rides like a Ferris Wheel and a roller-coaster.
The area will host the biennial editions of Rock in Rio in 2013 and 2015 as well. According to Paes, the Rock in Rio brings back the image of the city, providing employment opportunities and expansion of the tourism industry. It is estimated that only the 2011 edition will bring a greater financial return than is being invested by the Prefeitura (local government), including the R$7 million that will be spent on the expropriation of the current residents of the area.
The Olympic Park City of Rock is being designed to also meet Rio de Janeiro’s need for a space to hold large outdoor shows that will happen before and after the 2016 Oympics. During the games, the Park will be used for leisure and training activities of the athletes. It will feature stations with exercise equipment, biking trails, sports courts, a playground, a marina with decks, and a gazebo that will be installed in Largo de Jacarepaguá.
The Olympic Park will be integrated into the Olympic Village, located a few meters away on a plot of 750,000 cubic meters next to Riocentro. On the same eventful Thursday, a contract was signed on between the Prefeitura and the builder Carvalho Hosken for the construction of the Olympic Village that will house the athletes during the Games.
The Village will have 34 buildings of 12 floors. In total, there will be 2,448 apartments, three and four bedrooms each. The location of the Olympic Village ensures that 46 percent of Olympic athletes will be staying less than 10 minutes of their training and competition facilities and 73 percent less than 25 minutes.