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Preschool Challenged In Court

Lefortovo district residents incensed at a building project in a historic Moscow park will challenge the government and two private contractors in court this week.

Disgruntled locals filed a suit last week to halt what they call the "illegal" construction in the Stroganov Estate park, where design company Terra Auri began work on a new kindergarten in June after winning a tender from the city as part of a program to tackle a deficit of preschool places.

A preliminary hearing will take place at the Moscow Arbitration Court on Thursday, a court spokeswoman said.

The plaintiffs claim that agreements between City Hall's construction and land resources departments, Terra Auri and building contractor Su-212 breach laws on environmental and cultural protection, Alexandra Andreyeva, a Lefortovo resident who leads the Group for Defense of Stroganov Park, told The Moscow Times.

Andreyeva said private individuals had filed two other suits, including one challenging the decision of the city environment department to approve the project.

Terra Auri said in an e-mailed comments that City Hall allotted the land plot being developed, and the construction of the kindergarten does not violate the boundaries of the park, which is a protected area.

No one at City Hall's construction department was immediately available for comment Friday.

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