Civic monitoring report

Sent on 3/03/2024 | By Between dream and reality

What we found out

Project objectives

The project "Parco Fluviale del Calore " in the municipality of Mirabella Eclano, involves the construction of a river park along the Calore River. A budget of €4,485,413.91 - European Regional Development Fund (FESR), Structural Funds related to the 2014-2020 programming - is invested in infrastructure to enhance the natural and environmental heritage along the river Calore, near the Calore district of Mirabella Eclano. This initiative aims to transform the lake, originally created for irrigation purposes, into one of the main attractions of the area from a naturalistic, tourist, and sports perspective. Tourism, sports, recreational spaces set in an extraordinarily beautiful natural and environmental setting to revitalize an inland area of the Campania Region.

Foreseen activities

The project idea was conceived 14 years ago and is now halfway through realization. On approximately 14 hectares of land, crossed by the Calore River and the monumental bridge, equipped cycling and pedestrian paths covering about 15 kilometers will be created. There will also be green areas, camper parking spaces, and regular parking areas. Additionally, there will be fitness and sports areas with volleyball, beach volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts. Equipped spaces for children and a system of docks and walkways will also be present to make the already completed reservoir accessible, even for simple walks.During an interview, the Mayor reported that at the beginning of 2024 he had a meeting with the Campania Region, which granted an extension for the completion of the works by the first months of 2025. This extension is accompanied by a redefinition of the contribution financial. The granting of the extension was based on the fact that out of 6 projects presented to the Campania Region, the project in question is the only one currently in the executive phase, with a progress rate of 50%.

Project origin

The Municipal Administration of the City of Mirabella Eclano announced the Ideas Competition for the realization of the 'Calore River Park' on January 20, 2010, with the aim of enhancing the important environmental resource represented by the river section of the Calore Irpino, near the inhabited area of the Calore district. In 2015, with the signing of the program agreement between the Municipality, Province, and the Ufita Reclamation Consortium, the area involved in the project was integrated into the intervention known as the 'Irrigation Scheme of the Calore Irpino,' conceived and realized by the Ufita Reclamation Consortium. This intervention saw the complete realization of the Calore lake reservoir, a storage basin of about 55,000 cubic meters. The signed program agreement envisaged the direct municipal management of the recreational and tourist functions of the reservoir. This project is of particular importance as it serves the provinces of Avellino and Benevento, acting as a hinge for the affected area. The design was subsequently updated, following the indications of the UTC note of 15/06/2017. Tourist areas were expanded, and those near the dam, initially intended for water phytodepuration, were removed. In addition to expanding tourist areas, greater attention was given to cycling paths. The River Park now aims to be the 'gateway' to the Water Cycle Path, a strategic project of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport that connects the Picentini Mountains area with S. Maria di Leuca, following the route of the Pugliese aqueduct. Additional interventions for park accessibility include a new entrance along the S.C. Iscalonga and a cycle-pedestrian connection near the S.S. 90 delle Puglie. Finally, with note no. 9624 of 08/10/2018, the ATP provided new indications on the areas to be addressed and guided the drafting of the final-phase project. The project idea aims to achieve the objectives set by the Municipal Administration of Mirabella Eclano, prioritizing the enhancement of the area for tourist and recreational purposes. Thanks to the program agreement, the lake reservoir outlined in the preliminary project was realized by the Reclamation Consortium and will be managed by the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano for tourist-recreational purposes.


The River Park has a dual objective: to protect and enhance the water resource, promoting its sustainable use for the benefit of agricultural settlements in the Middle Calore Valley. At the same time, it aims to promote the area as a place for leisure, sports, recreational attractions, and tourist facilities, including a playground. Its location is between the direction towards Apice, in Sannio, and Taurasi.Therefore, the main beneficiaries are the local residents and tourists.


Throughout history, this area has been the inner gateway to Irpinia for those coming from the north, following the Appian Way from Rome, or from Naples, through the royal road of the Puglia region. The Calore River, at this point, begins to slow its course, widening since ancient times and offering better opportunities for fording and navigability up to the city of Benevento and beyond to the Volturno. Its predominant agricultural vocation has always been accompanied by a commercial vocation linked to the passage of travelers along this fundamental north-south and Campania/Puglia communication route. The construction of the arched bridge in the early 1900s and the expansion of the royal road, later becoming the State Road of Puglia after 1860, contributed to the economic development of this area without altering its environmental significance. A cause for concern in this positive context is the constant depletion of the flow of the Calore River's waters. Since 1970, this has been caused by the increase in water withdrawals for civil purposes. By the end of summer, the minimum vital outflow is compromised, and there have been several instances of asphyxiation of fish and flora due to the lack of water in the riverbed. More recently, due to worsening environmental problems, the competent authorities have issued orders to prohibit the use of water for irrigation and water extraction.


Currently, the project is in full implementation phase; indeed, the first installment of the progress payment has already been paid, amounting to €385,809.60 on 10/07/2023.The project is currently halfway through the implementation phase. This status has been identified through information gathered during interviews, official documents, and a monitoring visit. During the interviews with the mayor and the municipal technician responsible for the works, it emerged that the project underwent a reconfiguration in progress, which has affected the current state of the park. The main source of this information is the interview conducted with them, during which the changes made to the project during its implementation were discussed.


During the monitoring meeting, it emerged that the project underwent changes during implementation, but it is expected that the works will be completed by the end of 2024, as stated by the mayor. Unfortunately, due to ongoing construction and the presence of an open construction site, it was not possible to conduct a physical visit to the lake site for safety reasons. However, aerial observations were made to obtain a general overview of the progress of the works. The source of this information is the aerial visual assessment of the project site.


The project has a fairly long history with a change in its function over time. The highest risk is the lack of financial coverage for the project, especially if it is not completed quickly. The economic contingency has created difficulties for companies in coping with the continuous increase in construction costs. Another weakness is related to the concession of the management of activities to private entities. This could limit the performance of activities if no private entities are found interested in managing them. The Mayor emphasizes that the municipal management of the park is impractical, as the costs of managing the entire park would be unsustainable for the municipal entity.


Despite the project being halfway through, there is already a picturesque view visible from the State Road 90 of Puglia and from inside the Trattoria da Renato, which overlooks with large windows onto the water mirror that winds towards the arches of the bridge. Another strength is the accessibility of the location, situated along the SS90 road, which is attributable to the Appian Way. Moreover, it is only a few kilometers from the Benevento and Grottaminarda motorway exit, allowing tourists to easily reach the location. The Calore River Park, once completed, represents a prototype of sustainable development for the inland areas that can curb the continuous depopulation of the Campania region.


One of the potential risks in completing the monitored project is bureaucratic slowness, which can delay the implementation timeline. Currently, the debate on public works, including those funded by the European Community, revolves around the ability of local public administrations to complete projects and meet deadlines. The monitored project has so far incurred a significant overall cost, exceeding 12,000,000 euros. Another risk is related to the improper use of the park after the completion of the work. Without regulating access and controlling user use, as well as proper management of green areas and specific ecological habitats, the park could degenerate into a place abandoned to environmental and social degradation.

Ideas and solutions

The Calore River Park Project is undoubtedly innovative and well-received by the local population, as highlighted by interviews conducted with project users. However, there is a lack of awareness of the strategic potential of the project for the local economy. An idea suggested by the monitoring group 'Between Dream and Reality' to the administration is to involve young people in park management through associations or cooperatives. This approach could ensure quality services and effective park management.
Proper park management not only provides quality services but can also stimulate usage with a cost for users that makes the experience enjoyable. Park management involving local youth could offer cultural services and promote the territory, serving as an effective bond to counteract the youth exodus from these lands.

Parità di Genere

Nel progetto è coinvolta, direttamente o indirettamente, la parità di genere?


The project is intended to meet the needs of a diverse audience.

Nel progetto i partecipanti (a volte chiamati beneficiari) sono distinti per genere (donne, uomini, altri), utilizzando - per esempio -parole come donne, bambine, anziane, studentesse, lavoratrici, etc.


Il progetto stanzia risorse finanziarie esplicitamente destinate ad azioni che promuovono la parità di genere?


Sono stati indicati esplicitamente indicatori (es. numero di operatrici formate o percentuale di aumento delle studentesse iscritte a corsi STEM) per monitorare e valutare l’impatto del progetto in termini di promozione della parità di genere?


Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with the Managing Authority of the Programme which financed the project
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's planning
  • Interview with the users and/or final beneficiaries of the intervention
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's implementation

We interviewed two key individuals for the Fluvial Park of Calore project: the Mayor of the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano, Giancarlo Ruggiero, and the Head of the Technical Project Area, architect Alberico Rossetti. These interviews are a valuable source of information to assess the current status and the changes made during the project implementation.

Main questions

1) How did the proposal for this project come about, and what were the objectives?
(Giancarlo Ruggiero, Mayor of the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano)

2) Regarding the project, was there an analysis of the environment and the park's impact on the local ecosystem conducted?
(Alberico Rossetti, Municipal Technician in charge of the project)

Main answers

1) The Mayor reports that the idea of creating a fishing lake has distant origins. Personally, as a resident of the area, along with his fisherman friends, he had conceived the idea of building a lake, which was preliminarily designed but never funded.
In 2014, the current Mayor, Mr. Ruggiero, who was a provincial councilor at the time, mentions a program agreement among the Province of Avellino, the Ufita Reclamation Consortium, and the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano. This agreement aimed at the construction of a reservoir for irrigation purposes by the Ufita Reclamation Consortium, funded with 10.2 million euros of public funds.
Subsequently, in 2019, the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano proposed the establishment of a river park around the existing lake. After a dispute between the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano and the Ufita Consortium, an agreement was reached that led the Municipality to implement the project of the Calore River Park, currently under monitoring.
The presented project no longer intends to use the lake for irrigation purposes but rather for tourist-recreational purposes. The project's goals include developing recreational activities around the reservoir, such as playgrounds, sports activities like fishing, rowing, and cycling paths, as well as tourist and cultural initiatives. All of this is with the aim of promoting tourism development to enhance the cultural, historical-archaeological, gastronomic, and ecological resources of the region.

2) Technical expert Rossetti, regarding the analysis of the environment and the impact of the project on the ecosystem, reports that the project has been evaluated by various competent authorities, obtaining the necessary authorizations. The mayor, concerning environmental issues, highlights a critical situation regarding the pollution of the Calore River waters. He states that not all municipalities within the Calore River watershed have efficient sewage treatment plants. Consequently, especially during the summer season, water withdrawal for irrigation purposes is prohibited due to the high pollution of the waters and reduced flow for withdrawals from the Alto Calore aqueduct at the source.
Furthermore, the mayor reports that the reservoir filling waters come partly from rainwater and partly from a source upstream of the lake, purified with a phytodepuration plant. Therefore, the lake waters are not fed by those of the river and are not contaminated by wastewater.
Regarding the natural ecosystem, the lake is located beyond the east bank of the Calore River, and an ecological area will be created between the lake and the river, serving as an incubator for the development of natural flora and fauna. This area will be protected and even video-monitored, with observation possibilities through monitors located in a specifically created observation room.
The entire park area will be monitored, with limited access, and the activities that will take place will be entrusted to private companies through specific contracts to ensure proper use, maintenance of the place's decorum, and the upkeep of the area.