2020: year in review
With the beginning of 2021 new events are coming. But we offer to take a look at what the year 2020 marked on the pages of Jelgava's history. It was the year of 755th anniversary of Jelgava and the year that will definitely stay in our memory as special, because we lived, worked and studied in an unprecedented situation. However, despite global events, we will remember last year with a victory we won together - we managed to preserve the city's status of Jelgava, celebrated the city's 755th anniversary during the emergency, and so much more happened in 2020.
From July 1st, 2021, Jelgava will be a national city.
On June 10th, the Saeima in the final reading adopted the Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Areas, which stipulates that after the local government elections in 2021, there will be 42 local governments in Latvia instead of the current 119. According to the law, in the course of the reform, Jelgava will not be united with the adjacent counties, it will retain the current administrative territory of the municipality, but in the future Jelgava will be a national city.
Reconstruction of Loka maģistrāle completed
The two-year reconstruction of the 4.7 kilometre long transit road has been completed and opened for traffic. This is one of the largest and most expensive construction projects in the city, which is an important step in the further development of the city, building the planned northern bypass, which will be formed by the Loka highway, the perspective northern crossing over Lielupe, Driksa and Atmodas street.
A kindergarten is being built on Brīvības boulevard
In November, Ltd "Selva Būve" started to build a new municipal pre-school educational institution at 31A Brīvības boulevard. After the reconstruction of the building and the construction of an extension, it is planned to admit 160 little residents of Jelgava to the kindergarten. The new kindergarten must be completed within a year. At the same time the municipality continues to develop the idea of building a completely new, modern, architecturally high-value, technologically innovative and energy-efficient kindergarten at Nameja street 30.
A pedestrian sidewalk on Kalnciems road has been built
In order to improve pedestrian safety, a pedestrian sidewalk longer than 1,400 meters has been built and put into operation on the Kalnciems road section from Rīgas street to the Loka maģistrāle. The street lighting has also been rebuilt, a pedestrian crossing has been created at the intersection with Robežu Street and at the intersection with the Old road, as well as public transport stop platforms have been arranged.
Children's recreation and play town is being built in the Uzvaras park
The construction of children’s recreation and play town has started in the Uzvaras Park. This year during Jelgava City Festival the opening will be held for seven active and cognitive playgrounds for children aged 1 to 12.
Modernization of Jelgava Vocational high school has concluded
Infrastructure improvement in Jelgava Vocational high school has concluded in 2020 – new laboratories have been created for students in the cooking specialty, as well as a new cafeteria which will be open to local residents. Opportunities for metalworking courses have been expanded by creating a new hall for sheet metal working with the latest generation of equipment. Great changes have been made to the gym.
New pavement on Satiksmes street
10th of September saw the conclusion of roadworks on Satksmes street – a nearly kilometer long section from Meiju road to Ganību street has had its rain drainage system put in order, new asphalt laid and street infrastructure improved. Special attention has been paid to pedestrian safety.
"Junda" and "Zinītis" – opened!
The 1st of September saw the opening of creative house "Junda" and children’s library "Zinītis" in their new home – Zemgales prospect 7. "This building historically has been very important to our city, its residents, and after more than two years of construction, we have given it to education, so that children and youths may gain new knowledge and develop new skills. May this building bring together those, who create!" said Chairman of Jelgava city council Andris Rāviņš.
Infrastructure in Prohorova, Neretas and Garozas street has been improved for business development
In September nearly two years of constuction concluded on the streets of Prohorova, Neretas and Garozas, by improving the degraded territory in depo district. New infrastructure has been built, creating an industrial zone, to improve the businees potential in this part of the city. All the streets have had new communications installed, new asphalt has been laid, lighting has been modernized and new cameras have been installed.
New gym has been opened in Jelgava Technical school
September saw the opening of a new gym in Jelgava Technical School. The director Janīna Rudzīte emphasizes that a long dream has been fulfilled, by having a spacious and modern gym, which is invaluable to the 1020 students of Jelgava Technical school. Overall area of the new building is 960 square meters, but the gym itself is 642 square meters large. New gym has three changing rooms, toilets and showers, room for teachers, two storage rooms and a medical room.
Facade of Jelgava palace has been renewed
This past summer a four-year project came to a close, during which the facade of Jelgava palace has been renewed, the windows replaced and a new ventilation system installed. This year LLU has insulated and improved 2nd student hostel and the Technical faculty on Jāņa Čakstes boulevard.
New roof has been built for kindergarten "Kamolītis"
Jelgava city municipal kindergarten "Kamolītis" has had its roof replaced for both of its buildings, replacing the flat roof with quadrilateral roof. New rain drainage system has been built and a lightning protection system has been installed. This year communications will be replaced and an overpass built that connects the two buildings.
Kindergarten moves in the former premises of "Junda"
By expanding the institutional activity, in the former premises of "Junda" in Skolotāju street 2, additional groups for kindergarten "Sprīdītis" have been created. The building houses four new groups of 76 children who have reached the age of mandatory education.
By reducing the risk of flooding, a new recreational zone has been created in the floodplain meadows of Svēte
In March in the area of Būriņu road and Sniega street, large-scale construction concluded with the aim of reducing the risk of flooing in city of Jelgava. Anti-flooding activities in Jelgava have lead to a new recreational zone – a wooden footbridge network in the floodplain meadows of Svēte 1,6 kilometers in lenght.
Water and sewer networks have been built on multiple main streets
By concluding the project "Ūdenssaimniecības pakalpojumu attīstība Jelgavā, V kārta" funded by EU Cohesion fund and Jelgava city council, multiple water management networks have been expanded on main streets. 19 kilometers of sewer system, as well as 5 kilometers of water networks have been built, connecting 652 properties. Construction took place on Rīgas, Garozas, Aroniju, Strazdu, Kameņu, Pureņu, Tērvetes street, as well as Kalnciema and Vecajā road and Lietuvas šoseja.
Kitchen reconstruction completed in "Lācītis" and "Zemenīte"
In the municipal kindergartens "Lācītis" and "Zemenīte" kitchen block reconstruction has been completed. "Lācītis" also saw reconstruction of the old boiler hopuse, by giving new space for the staff.
With Jelgava in hearts we celebrated the 755th birthday of our city
This past year our city turned 755. Without chaging the slogan of the celebration "We are Jegava", during the Covid-19 pandemic we celebrated differently – different activities took place remotely, celebrating with Jelgava in our hearts. Jelgava is the first municipality in Latvia which created special celebration program for this special time, asking everyone to be together differently – participate in creative challenges, listen to concerts without leaving the house, participate in the symbolic passing of the city flag. Passing of the flag was a unifying celebration procession, which saw the participation of thousands of Jelgava residents. Musican Kārlis Kazāks played a special concert program in courtyards of apartment houses, while moose, the mascot of Jelgava, invited everyone to a singalong from their windows and balconies. For a week an online radio was active, while 287 people registered for the sports challenge.
Objects of Jelgava named Latvia’s best structures
Multiple objects in Jelgava last year took the win in construction industry contests. The building on 14 Vecpilsētas street has been named the best structure in the nomination "Restoration" in contests "Best structure of Latvia 2019" and "Latvia’s yearly prize of construction 2019". In nomination "Wooden structure" in both contests open-air concert hall "Mītava" has been named the best. The reconstructed Jelgava State gymnasium took 3rd place in the contest "Best structure of Latvia 2019", nomination "Rebuilding".
Ten businesses in Jelgava receive grants from the municipality
For the first time business owners in Jelgava could apply for the grant program "Support for merchants and economic operators", which gave the chance to receive non-refundable support up to 10 000 euros for projects. 79 applications were received and ten business owners received the funds, making a grand total of 74 955,15 euros.
For the first time "Golden grain" award is awarded to a kindergarten
For the seventh year Jelgava education quality awards "Golden grain" have been presented. This year was special, as for the very first time kindergartens could qualify for the award as well. First “Golden grain” for kindergartens was awarded to "Pasaciņa", for basic education – Jelgava Spīdola State gymnasium received the award, but in high school nominations – Jelgava State gymnasium was awarded. These schools received a bonus of 5000 euros. Recognition awards were awarded to kindergarten "Sprīdītis" and 5th secondary school of Jelgava.
For two weeks a self-driving bus ran in Pasta island
Jelgava was one of two cities in Latvia which had the chance to ride a self-driving bus, which ran in Pasta sala every day for two weeks.
Zemgale Olympic stadium named after legendary javelin thrower Jānis Lūsis
On August 22nd Jānis Lūsis’ tribute cup in javelin throwing took place. During the opening ceremony it was officialy declared that the stadium will be named after J.Lūsis, honoring his legacy. A plaque commemorating the newly renamed stadium will be installed this year when celebrating sportsman’s birthday.
Hundreds of Jelgava residents joined in a dance
Answering a challenge thrown by city of Dobele, at the end of september hudreds of Jelgava residents joined in a dance. This was done thanks to the global event #JerusalemaDanceChallenge, which aims to create positive emotion and togetherness. Challenge was passed on to cities of Ventspils and Valmiera. Video of the dance is available HERE.
Second Eliass award has been presented
On the 133rd birthday of Ģederts Eliass second Jelgava city municipality award named after the famous painter was presented. The award is given out once every three years for the best representation of rural themes in Latvian painting and this time it was awarded to Inga Jurova, who had painted her great-grandparents. More than 100 artworks were applied in the contest.
Superheroes are reborn in ice sculptures
The pandemic made many corrections in event organization, however the 22nd Internation Ice Sculpture festival in Jelgava took place, and it was the last public event of 2020 that had gathered as many visitors. It took place from 7th till 9th of February, and the festival featured 30 ice sculptors from 7 countries, who created ice sculptures in the superhero theme. Overall 45 contest sculptures were created – 30 small and 15 large sculptures, as well as 20 other works from 70 tonnes of ice.
Sand sculptures reveal the story of Jelgava
The traditional Sand sculpture of Jelgava celebrated its 14th year not as a contest but as a tribute to Jelgava and its history in the form of exhibition. Implementing the vision by sculptor Kārlis Īle, 10 sand scultpure works were created, which told the story of Jelgava city – from the first reindeer hunters, which lived in territory of our city, to the band "Brainstorm". Sand sculpture park in its active season till the 1st of october has been visited more than 43 000 times and it is still open for individual visits.
Series of publications and two photo exhibits on the library’s centenary
In 2020 Jelgava city library celebrated a hundred years since the opening of first municipal library in Jelgava. This anniversary was celebrated by taking a look back at history, in four publications analysing such subjects as the opening of the library, its development, consequences of World War 2, as well as its work in the Third Awakening of Latvia. Publications can be found HERE. Also on library’s centenary two photo exhibits were created by author Juris Zēbergs (AFIAP). On August an exhibit "Jelgava. Library. Us" was opened, which consisted of series of portraits, revealing the unique personalities of library’s staff. In October 10 more large-format photos were added to the exhibit which centered around books – part of library’s work and everyday life.
Concert marks 125 years since Latvian Song and music festival in Jelgava
In September open-air concert hall "Mītava" hosted a grand concert, celebrating 125 years since IV Latvian Song and music festival – the only such festival which has taken place outside of Riga. Concert program in three parts echoed celebration which took place more than a century ago – it featured spiritual, timely and vocally instrumental compositions, as well as Latvian folk song "Pūt, vējiņi", which was first played in this very festival.
Book "Jelgavnieki 1918-2019" was opened
September 2020 saw the ending of a four-year photo project by Dzintra Žvagiņa, which perpetuated residents of Jelgava – people of different professions, friends, families and colleagues. The book features 167 photos and more than 400 people. Stories are added to each of the photographs.
Restoration of the Holy Trinity tower was celebrated in art
Jelgava Artists' Association celebrated the restoration of the Holy Trinity tower by organizing an art contest "Dominant of Jelgava", which brought together artists of different art sectors. 20 artists answered call of the contest, and their works were compiled in an exhibition. Ilizane Grīnberga was named the best artist of the contest with her work of applied art "Peaks", while other artists received special prizes.
Photos: Jelgava City