You have been mayor for 28 years, first in Tamm and now in Vaihingen. Has the mayor’s job changed substantially?
Yes, in the case of the Corona it is clearly visible. In March and April 2021, mutual aid offers were launched from the ground. There was a wave of solidarity. After a year and a half, nothing was left of it. Also here in Vaihingen, the people who are demonstrating against Corona’s policy seem to meet by chance every Monday in the marketplace. This recession can be observed in several areas.
Has the pandemic influenced your decision?
Indirect yes. Corona has shown that social cohesion is not as strong as it should be in difficult times. The fact that we were doing very well financially and were able to submit many bids prevailed. But when there are cuts, like now, consistency ends quickly. I believe that the corona situation will stabilize in the next year. But there will also be cuts in the coming years, for example when I look at the issue of climate protection.
Vaihingen now wants to counter this offensively with the climate protection manager.
I agree. We found someone who will be with this post from February 1. As a result, the task of protecting the climate in urban work is once again set to a completely different quality.
It is certainly not an easy task due to the tight finances caused by the pandemic. What about the Vaihingen household?
It’s going to be really tough financially. In 2020, this was compensated with funds from the rescue package. We have a decent result there. But in 2021 it was already clearly felt. Maybe not right away, but we had to postpone the projects. For example, we are already lagging behind when it comes to expanding the kindergarten because we cannot get the material. Otherwise, we try to fulfill our obligations. So far, we have not had to suspend any of the undertaken projects. But of the ones we had on the screen, we can’t implement one or the other yet. For example, the new sports field concept. There were already EUR 3 million in the medium-term financial plan. There are no artificial turf pitches in the city. But at the moment it is not possible. But in recent years, we have never implemented projects that were “nice to have”.
no With the new sports hall for ten million euros, the focus was also on the need for school sports. The fact that clubs are taking advantage of it is a positive side effect. The subject of the cycle path, for which we decided to build a second section in the direction of Kleinglattbach and Enzweihingen in 2021, can probably be described as “nice to have”. But of course, the turn of the traffic plays a role here. And the cycle path provides a good connection to the three large districts of Kleinglattbach – Vaihingen – Enzweihingen with 18,000 inhabitants.
What are the mandatory tasks for 2022?
Currently, we are moving a common room in the city center to a common room for children and youth in the immediate vicinity of downtown schools. We are also building more nurseries in the center and in Ensingen. Plans for the Roßwag fire department are set to end in 2022. After that, the project of the downtown railway station is still under preparation. We have an attractive concept which enhances the quality of the stay and is a slight climate improvement. Accommodation for refugees will be built in Kleinglattbach. The need is increasing again. There will also be a feasibility study for the further development of downtown schools. There is a particularly lack of specialized rooms here. A small construction area of almost two hectares is under construction in Vaihingen. At this point, we also want to deal with the current problem of affordable housing.
What’s next for the IBA International Construction Fair and Garden Show?
Our main task is the gardening show 2029. In 2019, we heard a clear ‘yes’ in a household survey of 2,500 households with 2,500 to 6,000 inhabitants – from Gündelbach to Riet. We want to carry out this vote. However, if we were to move forward with IBA 2027, we would demand such a large city capacity that there would not be enough left for a garden show. Both will not work. This is what we said as the administration from the very beginning. Nevertheless, we conducted extensive civic participation. Finally, the commune council unequivocally supported the gardening show. It is also about accepting the decision of the commune council.