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Highlights of 47/2004
           

Created: 11/22/2004
Author: Compiled by: Andy BILLINGHAM Kamila DEMKOVA
Category: 47/2004



SR Premier appreciates U. S. Steel Kosice's contribution to city and region

SR Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda's first appointment on his working visit to Kosice last week (November 18th) was at U. S. Steel Kosice, where he was welcomed by Company President Christopher Navetta. After a short introductory meeting the Prime Minister, accompanied by the firm's top managers, looked around several production units in the Cold Strip Mill and Tin Mill divisions.

For his next appointment Mr. Dzurinda went to the city to see the building work at the new Ladislav Trojak ice stadium. The Premier said that the revival of construction work was to a high degree due to U. S. Steel Kosice, which has been focusing its activities since taking over the steelworks on supporting the development of the city and the region. The firm was the first to dedicate funds towards completion of the stadium, with 42 million SKK as early as 2002. The best part of another 100 million SKK was successfully put together from private sources in the city. The stadium's completion was turned into a real prospect by the Government's decision to provide 250 million SKK from the sum paid by U. S. Steel Kosice in taxes for overproduction. A further 30 million was also approved by the municipal assembly. Altogether the completion of this multi-functional hall is going to require approximately 430 million SKK. The Mayor expressed his wish that everyone might remain so favorably inclined to this project in the future. He said he was confident that there would be sufficient resources next year to see this top-standard facility handed over to the people of Kosice and the region.

Mikulas Dzurinda then opened the doors into the ice-stadium hall to symbolize its continuing construction, and looked round the interior. The seating capacity of the hall will be 9500 places, and the rink boards will be visible from every seat. The social facilities will consist of changing rooms for the home team and visitors and for the youth team players as well, VIP boxes, restaurants and snack-bars. The ice surface measuring 60 x 30 meters will serve, after covering, for organizing other sporting events suited to these dimensions. All in all this means 15 kinds of sport. The hall's acoustics are so designed that various cultural events can be organized here as well.

Once the construction of the stadium itself is finished, 800 parking spaces will be progressively created around the building. The hall will also fulfill strict safety criteria, to an extent permitting the Kosice ice-stadium to be compared with the CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Completion work has been going on since October, and there will be no interruption during the winter months. U. S. Steel Kosice Executive Vice-president Strategic Implementation Anton Jura, who is also Kosice Hockey Club Vice-president as well as Vice-president of the Kosice Arena civic association, explained that the winter period will be used for technical and planning preparation of all the completion work, so that the hall can be finished off in March 2006 and put into trial operation in May of the same year, so that the 2005/2006 ice-hockey season play-off matches could even be played here. Proposals were then heard, probably made in jest and in any case not totally realistic, for the inaugural hockey match to be played by the national teams of Slovakia and the USA. An NHL team was also mentioned - the Pittsburgh Penguins.

At a short press briefing the Prime Minister praised the activities of U. S. Steel Kosice and its successes, which are all to the benefit of the local community and that of the region.

He appreciated the professionality of the managers and the excellent work of all the employees in making such high-quality products. He thanked President Navetta, the whole steelworks team, the City of Kosice and everyone who has had some part to play in the completion of the new ice-stadium. At the same time he expressed his hope that it will be completed on time, so that Slovakia can then apply to hold the world ice-hockey championships.

Christopher Navetta then described the Government's decision to assist the region as a very positive factor in the project, and said that he looked forward to the day when the puck would be dropped in the first bully of the first hockey match. Mikulas Dzurinda, Zdenko Trebula and Christopher Navetta were then presented by HC Kosice President Lubomir Veme with ice-hockey shirts numbered 06 and sticks with the autographs by the Kosice team players. The shirt numbers symbolize the year 2006, the year of the ice-stadium's completion.

In the afternoon the Prime Minister had a discussion with students at Safarik University Law Faculty, during the course of which he again made positive comments on the outstanding work being done for Slovakia by U. S. Steel Kosice. At the same time he stressed that he places unusual importance on removing regional inequalities, as well as on making Kosice the eastern counterweight to Bratislava. He then answered many questions concerning Slovakia's foreign policy, educational reform and the domestic political situation. He went on to a meeting with Technical University Rector Juraj Sinay, and in the early evening he lit candles downtown to commemorate with the people of Kosice the fifteenth anniversary of the events of November 1989.

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