An official in Athens is leading a project to plant olive trees at the site of the 2004 Olympics in a largely symbolic gesture of community building. Olympic Park has been closed to the public due to Greece's debt crisis, and is being converted in part to an olive grove. Councilor Manolis Trickas said the olives produced by the trees would help stave off hunger among the city's poor, and also rally the citizens together. "We believe that accumulating money will not help us out of this kind of crisis, but a network of solidarity will support us," he said.
Tending the olive trees is one of the few activities taking place in Olympic Park, located in the suburb of Hellenikon. Voice of America said Saturday the area was becoming overgrown and the only sounds heard regularly were birds and the horns of ships in the nearby harbor.
Many Greeks, and even some official of the International Olympic Committee, concede the capital outlays for the games contributed to Greece's debt load. There have been calls to sell the park to private developers.