Nearly five years after the project "Restoration of Loučná Riverfront in Litomyšl" was officially launched and a year and a half after construction work began, the Vodní valy locality was opened to the public on Saturday 3 June 2017.
The aim of restoring the Loučná riverfront near Smetana Square was to revive functions the locality once had, but has since lost due to insensitive urban planning in the second half of the 20th century. The main objective was to make the river once again a part of the city's everyday life, to create a space people can use for pastime activities, and to establish a close connection between Litomyšl's historical district, the riverfront, and the park adjoining the Smetana House.
The design was selected as part of the Proměny Foundation 2013 Award, an architectural competition whose parameters were formulated in consideration of a survey of the needs and preferences of frequent visitors to the Loučná riverfront. In response to suggestion made by local inhabitants, architects Martin Rusina and Martin Frei prepared a design that has allowed the locality to retain much of its natural character. At the same time, the concept provides a link between the formerly separated Vodní valy Street, the riverfront, the river itself, and the park adjacent to the Smetana House. The focal point of the transformation was the riverfront promenade with a playground for visitors of all ages, a space for an outdoor café, and various types of seating arrangements.
"The new design of the locality is both bold and playful. Most importantly, however, I hope that the city's inhabitants will find it functional. I'm confident that Vodní valy will become a sought-after part of the city, where people will come to spend their free time. I want to express my gratitude to the Karel Komárek Proměny Foundation, the architects, and everyone else who has contributed expertise and hard work to the project," said Mayor of Litomyšl Radomil Kašpar during the opening ceremony.
The planning of the transformation of Vodní valy began in 2012, but the beginnings of the project, subtitled "Dialogue between Town and River", go back to the years 2010 and 2011. "The plan to restore the riverfront area in Litomyšl was originally presented as an initiative of the local community and the city fathers. We decided to lend our support behind this transformation venture because local people expressed keen concern in the locality, were willing to contribute their time, and took active part in the project," explained the Proměny Foundation's founder Karel Komárek. In addition to over seven million crowns from its own resources, Litomyšl has received over 23 million crowns in financial assistance under the Proměny Foundation's Parks grant program.