With the completion of the Toriparkki parking area and the market place, things are getting ready: it is time to fill the city centre with life and youthful energy! The goal of Joensuu City Center Development Association is to make the heart of the city attractive to locals and visitors alike.

– Debate about the Toriparkki parking area ran on for 25 years. Now the procrastination has come to an end: Toriparkki is the beginning of something new and good. It’s brilliant that it’s now ready, Executive Director of Joensuu City Center Development Association (link in Finnish) Anne Vänskä says with a smile.

Joensuu market place is the heart of the city. During the past two years, this heart has gone through a major operation. Toriparkki was opened in October 2018, and the opening ceremony of the market place took place in November. The renovation of the city centre was not just an angioplasty, as the streets in the city centre went through simultaneous renovations. For a passer-by, it looks as though the city centre of Joensuu has been reborn.

A youthful approach

Up-to-date, youthful, ready to serve. A city centre should be all that.

– Joensuu is a city of students. Joensuu is a youthful city. The youthful attitude should be conveyed in various ways. The completed renovation of the market place and the city centre will enable the organisation of events and a supply of services of interest to people. When both young people and adults move around in the city centre, they will find the local shops more easily.

An association for the common good

Joensuu City Center Development Association has approximately 250 members – professionals, entrepreneurs, companies, property owners, associations. The biggest member is the city of Joensuu. The association wants to listen to its members carefully. Such a big crowd has a variety of opinions and perspectives, and the Executive Director needs to know how to manage the differences. Vänskä started in her position in August last year, and one of her first actions was to intensify communication.

The procrastination has ended, and Joensuu Toriparkki parking area is a start of something new and good

– We now send regular updates to the members, and we have received good feedback for it. The members know what takes place and when. We do a lot of joint marketing, which the members can use any way they want.

The city centre association is also a forum for having a say in mutual efforts and bringing up new ideas for joint consideration. The association has left its mark in the shape of banners at entrances, summer bunting, and the much loved opening of the Christmas season. The Christmas atmosphere attracts as many as 20 000 city residents to the market place.

Echoes from Karelia

Just like many others in Joensuu, Anne Vänskä is impatiently looking forward to the YleX pop concert. The free concert will be organised for the first time at Joensuu market place on 1 June. On the same day, Laulurinne Hill will be filled with music, to celebrate the start of the summer season in Finland. The event with a meritorious history of 35 years will gather 20 000 school children to Laulurinne Hill. In the best case scenario, the same crowd will also find its way to the YleXPop festival at the market place. That is quite a target group for the city centre shops and restaurants.