New Gate at the Entrance to Ronda

Today in Ronda News, the city now has a new gate which will welcome visitors to the city, and is the first gate installed since the middle of the 18th century, although the new gate is fittingly more modern as Ronda breaks the shackles of the past and becomes a modern European city.

Designed and built by the students of the Employment Workshop “Arunda”, the  gates are made of recycled metals salvaged in Ronda and stand four metres high. The gates are located in the park being developed next to Ronda’s Palace of Justice at the end of Avenida de Málaga.

The students are all unemployed people learning a new skill, and this project is described as having been hugely motivational, with most putting in extra hours to see the gates completed to a high standard.

Ronda’s mayor Antonio Marín Lara, and the delegate for Employment Josefa Valley were on hand to congratulate the students for their efforts.

In the coming weeks the new parkland will be completed, and will showcase the gates as well as  a new fountain. It is hoped the area will be a welcoming sight for visitors to the city, as well as an attractive space for residents in surrounding streets to relax.

Occupancy in Ronda Hotels Averages 40%

Spain’s National Institute of Statistics has completed its annual survey of employment on the tourism industry, highlighting that 250 people are directly employed by Ronda hotels.

During 2009 Ronda received 243,939 visitors who stayed at least one night in a Ronda hotel. This amounted to an average occupancy of 40% climbing to 50% at weekends, and around 95% during the Pedro Romero Feria and the following long weekend.

The strongest months in Ronda were April and May, and August to October which confirms the feeling shared by many hoteliers in Ronda that the summer months of June and July are just too hot for most tourists despite these being the months of Spanish school holidays.

Foreign tourists accounted for 54.5% of visitors in 2009, and the remainder 45.5% being Spanish, though significantly the 2009 figures show growth in domestic tourism of 3% as foreigners stay home or go to cheaper locations in Europe and North Africa to compensate for poor economies in their home nations.

Ronda Youth Hostel Tender Awarded

The tender to construct Ronda’s first youth hostel has been awarded to Urinci Sevenlite, a building company based in Ronda, with construction expected to begin before Easter.

Long talked about, a dedicated youth hostel in Ronda has been demanded by backpackers for years, yet until recently the project seemed destined to remain a pipe dream. Today’s announcement will no doubt be well received by backpacker tourism organizers.

To be located close to the bus station in the Poligono, the youth hostel will be constructed on a 2,138 sqm plot near the High Schools between calle Guadacobacin and calle Fernando de los Rios.

Upto 74 beds will be available in 15 rooms, whilst the plot will also contain a garden and space for parking. Design criteria call for the building to be energy self-sufficient and accessible for people with disabilities.

Twelve jobs will be created, and staff with an ability to speak at least one other language will be given preference, with particular need for English, French, and German.

Ronda’s councillor for urban planning María José Martín de Haro told Ronda Today the project has a budget of 780,000€ and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

Ronda Cycling about to See Major Improvements

Fantastic news for residents and tourists in Ronda, our fair city will soon have 70 rental bicycles available at four convenient points around the city to make Ronda cycling a reality.

Ronda joins the University of Málaga, Málaga city, Antequera, and also soon Velez-Málaga as being the only areas in Málaga province with bikes for hire. Programs such as these are already very successful in London, Paris, Sevilla and other major cities, and given the great enthusiasm towards cycling in Ronda, it seems fitting that Ronda should also have bicycles for hire.

Conceived by the Andalucían Energy Agency, a department of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise in association with the Ronda’s Delegation for Innovation, the scheme will cost 110,000€ and will see bike pickup points distributed around four locations in Ronda.

Initial expectations are that points will be located near Plaza de Espana, the railway station or above the carpark on Avenida Martinez Astein, at the end of Avenida de Málaga, and possibly in the Barrio de San Francisco.

Pilar Serrano, head of the Andalucían Energy Agency told Ronda Today the program is innovative and will see emissions improvements of 103 tonnes of CO2 not released into the atmosphere, equivalent to 39 cars less on Ronda’s roads annually.

A dedicated support technician will be employed by the city council to maintain the bicycles, although at this point it is not known if any of Ronda’s three existing bicycle shops will be able to contract for their maintenance.

Looters Target Acinipo Roman Ruins

Acinipo is one of the most precious historical sites in the Serranía de Ronda, a fact not lost on thieves who have been using sophisticated metal detectors to discover coins and fragments of other metal objects.

Over 400 holes have been dug, described by the Friends of Acinipo Association as blatant vandalism and theft of public property. The thieves have cut numerous holes in the fence surrounding Acinipo of the last month and a half, causing thousands of Euros damage to the enclosures.

With shovels and hoes, the thieves are digging holes wherever they detect metal, with complete disregard for stone foundations they encounter. This type of brazen vandalism is impossible assess how much damage is being caused since Acinipo is a working archeological dig with much yet to be discovered about the city.

Manual Garcia, Provincial Delegate for Culture yesterday met with senior representatives of the various local police agencies to demand increased night time patrols of the area, and the apprehension of those responsible.

Aside from damage to the fences, it’s estimated several hundred coins and other relics would have been stolen, with a conservative value in the tens of thousands of Euros not including the value to Ronda of their cultural loss.

Acinipo is a ruined Roman city located at around 15 minutes north of Ronda, and from the 1st century BC to the end of the 5th century AD was one of Roman Iberia’s most important cities. By Imperial decree, Acinipo was entitled to mint it’s own coins, thousands of which are believed to still be buried under the ruins.

Ronda News: Ring road to create 327 new jobs

In Ronda news, 327 jobs are to be created in Ronda over the coming months as work on the ring road and a new Arriate bypass begins, with a budgeted 18.5 million Euros allocated.

The economic recession in Spain has hit particularly hard in Ronda with tourism numbers down across the board, and the total collapse of the construction industry hampering efforts  to recover. An additional 327 jobs in this climate, 70% of them direct on the project, and the remaining 30% from indirect employment related to the construction work is certainly a major development.

Funding is being provided by Plan Zapatero, an economic stimulus program created by the national government to infrastructure projects going and dampen the blow to the economy with record unemployment of 22% nationally. Ronda’s ring road works are being coordinated by the province of Málaga Public Works and Transport Delegation.

All three of Ronda’s main road entrances are to receive work, with construction at the A-397 San Pedro road, and A-374 Sevilla road already started, and preparation work on the Campillos roundabout underway. The Arriate bypass planning has been finalised with construction to begin later this year.

Construction involves;

A-397 access near the new Ronda hospital at the beginning of the A-397 to San Pedro. As traffic increases with the ongoing construction and then opening of the hospital, traffic delays could be expected. An 80m bridge is being built and an overpass constructed for traffic going to and from San Pedro, this should free up the roundabout for local traffic.

A-374 overpass at La Dehesa to remove an accident blackspot as traffic leaving Ronda has to cross the busy ring road, instead traffic will filter into the stream as is normal on most highways.

A-366 and A-367 underpass to be built for traffic coming from A-374 entering Ronda on Avenida de Málaga, which will allow free movement of traffic from the Campillos/Arriate direction into Ronda.

MA-7403 to A-367 Bypass of 6km from Puerto del Monte directly to the A-367 Ardales road, which will remove through traffic from Arriate village, making the drive to Los Prados and Setenil quicker. People in Arriate have been complaining about traffic congestion for years, especially at a section of Calle del Carril which isn’t wide enough for traffic to pass.

Announcing the funding and approval of construction, Dolores Fernández, the delegate from the provincial council stated that the creation of 327 new jobs in and around Ronda should give a valuable boost to the local economy, and at the same time improve transport communication between Ronda an the villages of the Serranía, as well as making the drive safer.

Local environmentalists have criticised aspects of the development, particularly at La Dehesa where several thousand pine trees from the Parque Dehesa del Mercadillo have been felled to make way for the overpass and access on the A-374. Fernández has given assurances that 14,000 new trees will be planted after construction is complete, however she refused to be drawn on plans to purchase land in the immediate vicinity of the park.

Concern is mounting amongst environmentalists that the planting of replacement trees will be swept under the rug, and that petty politics between local and provincial governments will intervene resulting in the trees never being replaced. A petition is being organised by Ecologists in Action to demand public consultation on the replanting of trees.

Ronda’s mayor, Antonio Marín Lara has appealed to the people of Ronda and surrounding villages to be patient as work gets underway, with construction not expected to be finished before 2013. He commented that 24,000 vehicles per day use the ring road, and that the benefits to Ronda of improving the local economy far outweigh the short term inconvenience and loss of a small number of pine trees which will anyway be replaced with trees endemic to the area.

Ronda – Tourist Information – Hotel booking – Activities – Events in Ronda and Surrounding Villages. Telephone 0034 681 14 70 24

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