Râmnicu Vâlcea chooses to develop quickly, keeping at the same time the historical landmarks and traditions
Read our interview with Mircia Gutău, Mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea in Romania
- June 18, 2019 09:30
- Monika Dimitrova
Mircia Gutău was born on 27 April 1957. He is married with two children. Gutău graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Sibiu in 1983. In 2003, he graduated from the Romanian Institute of Administration and in 1989 from the Institute of Physical Education and Sport. Gutău is also a judo coach and in 1980 he was a member of the Romanian Judoka Olympic Team at the Olympic Games in Moscow.
Mircia Gutău served as Local Councilor (2000-2002) and Deputy Mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea (2002-2004). Gutău was elected mayor of Ramnicu Valcea in 2004, his popularity soared during his first term and was re-elected in 2008 and in 2016.
Râmnicu Vâlcea is a mix between old and new, between history, tradition and modernism. Please describe the city in a few sentences.
I am going to use some parallels over time in order to be in line with this question. Râmnicu Vâlcea was one of the first throne cities of the Romanian Middle Ages and is now ranking first in the South-West Development Region of Oltenia in terms of attracting European investment funds. In the early 18th century, Râmnicu Vâlcea was a cultural and typographical center, the “capital of Romanian printing”, as the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga said, and nowadays it is a cultural landmark in the country through prestigious cultural institutions – “Ion Dumitrescu” Philharmonic, ”Ariel” Municipal Theatre, “Anton Pann” Theatre, the local branch of the Romanian Visual Artists’ Union - and through artistic works worthy to be included in the world Guinness records – the stained glass of “Antim Ivireanul” County Library or the series of large paintings illustrating the past and present of our town. This is the place where a national symbol was born - the present Romanian Anthem was first sung here, in Râmnicu Vâlcea, on 29 July 1848 – and also opening up to the world through exchange relationships and twinning agreements with communities worldwide.
Mr. Gutău, you have been mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea since 2004. How did the municipality change over this period?
I can say that I have witnessed the rebirth of a community, where I have seen how this town chooses to develop quickly towards everything new, keeping and honouring, at the same time, the historical landmarks and specific traditions. To someone who would now visit Râmnicu Vâlcea after 15 years of being away, many town areas would be completely unknown. Moreover, the same person would appreciate the way the town’s symbols or reference points in the urban landscape have been preserved and brought to the light they deserve. I think the person would go through a really exciting experience.
What do you want to change in the near future?
I would not change anything in our wonderful town or to the people who live in it. The choice they made was clear and I have followed their wish: the town must develop further and become an important economic, cultural and sports point on the map of the region and country. It is easy, isn’t it?
The Râmnicu Vâlcea City Administration is very active in terms of managing European funding. Please tell us about the most important EU supported projects.
A separate interview should be held only for this purpose. In order to simplify things, for the European tax year 2007 - 2013, we can mention in our town the rehabilitation and modernization of the central public area, the building of a new boulevard and two new streets, a passageway over the railway and an underground passageway, the building of two new bridges over the Olăneşti River and the rehabilitation of the existing bridge over the Olt River, the modernization of the main park of our town - Zăvoi Park, the implementation of a video surveillance system, the modernization of the most important high school building of our town, the thermal rehabilitation of several blocks of flats or the promotion of the local tourist potential. In terms of the European tax year 2014 - 2020, there is the building of a connecting road and ramps linked to the “Tudor Vladimirescu” passageway, which are part of a new South-North transport axis in town, the purchase of alternative fuel buses, the rehabilitation of public lighting all throughout the town using the latest modern technical solutions, the thermal rehabilitation of many blocks of flats and some middle and high schools if I can only talk about the projects whose financing agreements have been signed; they are complemented by a long list of other projects under assessment or contracting procedure, and the list is changing and evolving at an extremely fast pace.
What are you doing to attract more investors and strategic projects?
First of all, we are creating the urban framework needed for the proper operation of any private investment. An investor needs good roads to transport their goods, utility networks to feed their production facilities, a public passenger transport system for the staff they are to hire. We can do all that within the limits of territorial and legal competencies. Furthermore, we have launched a dual-level post-secondary education system which promotes technical education tailored to the needs of our local market. This way, we also provide the specialized workforce needed for any developing business. We are also very active in national organizations such as the Romanian Association of Municipalities through which we are promoting legislative initiatives to help us attract more and more investors to our town.
How do you evaluate the initiative of a unified platform for European municipalities and its goal to keep European citizens informed about what is taking place in their cities? How the portal can be useful to you and to the citizens of Râmnicu Vâlcea?
I think this portal is a basic tool for the evolution of any community. On one hand, citizens can learn about what is happening in other cities represented on the platform, they can find out new things and develop new projects. Then, local authorities can present their achievements in a much wider context, having the opportunity to discover potential partners to move to a higher stage of the projects they launch. The platform can also be a source of inspiration, a transfer of knowledge and direct exchanges of best practices, so that the solutions we look for in various issues we are facing should be some of the proven and the best possible ones. In a nutshell: I believe this initiative is beneficial and I congratulate those who have implemented it!
Find out more about Râmnicu Vâlcea here