>@Aarne von Boehm Architects
© Aarne von Boehm Architects

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 150 million long-term loan to finance small to medium-sized municipal infrastructure upgrading projects in Lahti. Mobility schemes, education, sports, social and health infrastructure as well as civil protection, energy and waste management will be supported by the EU’s bank as part of Lahti’s four-year investment programme, which will run from 2013 to 2016.

“Urban renewal and regeneration in the pursuit of more sustainable and competitive cities is a strategic priority objective of the EIB. We therefore particularly welcome this agreement with the City of Lahti, as it will enable us to finance investments to cater for the growing population and promote future economic development. This third operation with the City of Lahti also demonstrates the EIB’s continued support for the city’s urban infrastructure investments in various sectors,” said Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Finland.

“The cooperation with the EIB has provided Lahti with secure finance on favourable terms for our key investments, which will promote people’s well-being and the sustainable growth of the city. We feel that the partnership demonstrates an appreciation of the work that has been carried out and the strategic choices made in Lahti,” commented Jyrki Myllyvirta, Mayor of Lahti.

Thanks to the EIB loan, the quality of life of Lahti’s residents will be improved, as not only health centres, schools, kindergartens and homes for the elderly will be renovated, but also new cycle routes, parks and green spaces will be created. The transport schemes – mainly renovation of streets and modernisation of the transport infrastructure – will reduce journey times and vehicle operating costs, thereby promoting more sustainable public transport. The reconstruction or renovation of public buildings will also produce energy savings resulting from the insulation of walls and roofs, replacement of windows and other energy efficiency measures. The project will boost long-term economic growth in the municipality and the region as a whole.

This operation builds on the EIB’s successful cooperation with the City of Lahti since 2007. Including the current operation, the Bank has provided three loans totalling almost EUR 280 million to finance education, health and social projects, as well as the innovative waste-to-energy power plant in Lahti. The EIB loans provide for diversification of the City of Lahti long-term financing.