On January 27, the Head of the Karelian Republic, Artur Parfenchikov, held a meeting on the integrated economic and social development of Vyartsilya (Värtsilä), a
single-industry urban-type settlement located in Sortavala district. The expert panel summarized the results of the nationally prioritized program for the integrated
development of monotowns and discussed Vyartsilya's future.
In his opening address, Artur Parfenchikov suggested "searching for the additional sources of financial support in order to improve social and economic situation in Vyartsilya".
He added that "plans for building a federal highway near the settlement give some hope for improving local logistics and developing roadside trade".
According to the head of Vyartsilya, Vladimir Pinigin, the integrated development program for this single-industry urban-type settlement was approved in April 2017. Since
then, 120 jobs have been created (which surpassed the target number of 117 jobs), and the total investment have amounted to 33 million rubles.
Last year, Vyartsilya administration implemented a program "Five Steps to Better Living Environment", which enabled to redevelop the central square area of the settlement, to
restore its ice hockey rink boards, to buy the playground equipment, etc. Other urgent tasks (such as repairing the waiting and registration area of Vyartsilya's outpatient
clinic) are expected to be completed this year with necessary funds having already been allocated.
Currently, the administration is collecting the applications for the participation in 2018 Comfortable Urban Environment Project. So far, the proposals have been offered
for redeveloping the embankment area, installing street workout equipment, and repairing the football ground and residential house yards.
One of the ways to increase Vyartsilya's tourism potential is to expand the territory where tourist objects can be located by moving the border line up to the state border
engineering systems. Such changes, however, require a tourism development project approved by Russia's Federal Government. Artur Parfenchikov suggested that a list of
infrastructure objects specified in this project should include a hotel, a café, and retail facilities.
"We have created Vyartsilya investment platform and started looking for investors. This platform will be presented in Finland as part of business mission to identify
opportunities for investment and joint ventures", - Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Karelia, Dmitry Rodionov, said at the meeting.
The Republic of Karelia has already established contacts with Värtsilä Corporation, a leading Finnish manufacturer of equipment for the energy market. Another positive
development is the increasing number of tourists passing through Vyartsilya customs point.
The meeting concluded with setting a task to map a small and medium-sized business development program for Vyartsilya settlement before March 2018. Having such program
is one of the eligibility criteria for receiving federal financial aid to develop business activities in monotowns. Another important task is to expand the network of
temporary retail facilities.
Artur Parfenchikov also suggested borrowing the best practices of other Russian near-border territories and creating the official local community to encourage the
development of Vyartsilya settlement and Sortavala district.