Children’s Theme Park for Venice?

A great plan to transform the old Fort of Marghera into a children’s theme park city is facing opposition. The derelict Fort is situated in Marghera on the mainland near the Venetian lagoon. But ABO, a non-governmental organisation that raises funds to promote cancer research, is challenging the plan for the children’s city. Instead, ABO proposes constructing an ancient Venetian galley at the Fort. In addition, ABO recommends providing space for market stalls to sell olive oil, wine and other locally produced goods. ABO would raise funds for cancer research from people visiting the galley and buying local produce (see Venice’s daily newspaper Il Gazzettino di Venezia on 12 April 2011, Marghera, il Forte conteso, by Maurizio Dianese).
Of course, funding cancer research is very important. Yet it is highly questionable whether ABO’s proposal is an effective way to do this. Moreover, there are doubts about whether Venice needs more outlets for selling local produce or another reconstructed Venetian galley. Since 2008, the reconstruction of the Venetian Doge’s galley, the Bucintoro, has been underway (see Nicolas Sarkozy urged to pay for Napoleon\'s \'vandalism\' of golden barge, The Times, 23 February, 2008).
Venice would benefit greatly from the children’s theme park. For decades, the city has failed to develop decent playgrounds and other facilities for children, which is one factor that has influenced the decisions of Venetian families to move out of Venice. A children’s theme park would also add to the attraction of Venice for tourists and could potentially boost the city’s income from tourism to support its modernization. Although Venice has a great deal to offer historically for children, for outside play there is little more than a few small playgrounds for young children. Decent playgrounds and theme parks can be found in the nearby coastal city of Jesolo, but this requires a day trip and these facilities are only open during the summer tourist season.
There have been protracted debates about how to transform the Fort and the funding of this project (see Il Gazzettino di Venezia on 27 February 2011, 100 milioni per Forte Marghera, by Maurizio Dianese). The company Impreglio has proposed investing €100 million to create a children’s theme park in partnership with Venice City Council. We favour this proposal for transforming the Fort for Venetians, tourists and others.

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