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Hard Work Starts Now to Get Ready For City Of Culture, Says Mayor Andy Street

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has fired the starting gun on preparations for next year’s City of Culture, saying, “The hard work starts now.”

Mr Street, who heads up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), says huge investment is being poured into Coventry to get the city ready for next year’s festivities – and the floods of visitors they will bring.

“Now we are into 2020 the countdown has begun in earnest to the City of Culture and excitement is growing,” Mr Street said.

“2021 will be a massive year not only for the city of Coventry but for the whole region – and the hard work starts now.

“We have 12 months to get ready. Obviously, that means preparing and finalising a brilliant programme of cultural events for visitors, work which is already underway.

“But this year we also need to think about how we welcome visitors, and what their impressions of Coventry are going to be when they arrive from across the country.”

Mr Street outlined huge investment being made in Coventry to ready the city to welcome those visitors.

“The WMCA have put different forms of funding in to revitalise the city. First of all, the station is getting a major revamp to the tune of £39 million, as it will provide the initial gateway for so many of those visitors.

“Then there is the stunning Telegraph Hotel, which is being created in the former offices of the Coventry Telegraph, which will provide a new standard of hotel accommodation in the city. The WMCA had made a major investment to support this ambitious scheme to reclaim an iconic city centre building.”

Mr Street said the 88-bedroom four-star hotel is due to open its doors this year, offering duplex penthouse suites, a restaurant, 160-seat meeting and conferencing facilities and a rooftop bar overlooking Belgrade Square.

“Finally, we are investing in lots of infrastructure in the city centre,” Mr Street added, “in terms of lighting, signage, art and paving to improve the public realm not only for visitors next year but for generations to come.

“An investment of £31 million was approved by the WMCA last summer, money which is already being spent to get Coventry ready.

“I have always said that the City of Culture would provide an opportunity to improve the infrastructure of Coventry for years to come. That investment and work has already begun but this year local people will see it come to fruition, as we count down to 2021.

“The UK City of Culture offers a unique and golden opportunity for Coventry to showcase itself to the world. With these investments, we are making sure we grasp that opportunity with both hands.”

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