Oberursel’s swimming pool problem

Oberursel’s swimming pool is one of the most discussed topics in the town, after the Hessentag.

For many years, one of its problems had been that the pool was either open as an indoor pool (Hallenbad) or an outdoor one (Freibad), but as far as I know not as both at the same time.  This meant that if there was a bad summer, the ticket receipts could be severely affected.

Oberursel's old swimming pool building

Oberursel's old swimming pool building, closed since September 2008

But it was with the closure of the indoor pool in September 2008 that the real problems started.  After the collapse of the roof of a public ice rink in southern Germany, many towns commissioned studies of their public buildings to ensure that they did not suffer the same fate during the winter months, which appeared to be receiving more snow from year to year.

Oberursel’s roof was deemed too unsafe for public swimming, and the indoor pool has not been open since.

The building itself is still there and still standing (three winters later), but only because it also houses the heating equipment for the outdoor pool.

The closure has had an effect on local clubs who offered swimming, diving and life-saving courses in the pool, as well as on local schools and kindergartens who all have had to go elsewhere in the area.  This has resulted in additional travel time and cost for them and at the same time a loss of revenue for the town and local businesses that relied on the swimmers’ trade.

The sale of a nearby sports field to finance the building of a new swimming pool was a hotly discussed topic at the recent local elections, and due to their result this sale is no longer on the cards, although some other land will probably be sold off instead.

So it was an interesting evening at the end of June when interested residents were invited to take a tour of the grounds and to find out the current state of the planning process.

The area that the new building will stand on was marked out with helium-filled balloons showing the corners and the intended height of the building.  We were taken around the perimeter to see where the new car park would go and how the fencing would work.  There were sketches of the layout of the pools and of the new building itself.

Touring the swimming pool site

Touring the swimming pool site, the red balloon marks one corner of the new building

Critically, the new concept will operate both indoor and outdoor pools during the summer months and modern heating methods should be make it cheaper to run.  Many of those who live relatively close to the site had some questions about the noise levels, but these will probably be even lower than they are currently.  Others were just happy to see that something is finally taking place and if everything goes according to plan the building work should begin in spring 2012.

But what made the evening particularly unique was the whole idea of presenting the plans for the new complex to the public in this way, something that has apparently not happened before in the town.  By taking people around the site and placing the balloons at the corners of the new building so that they can see exactly where it will be, I am sure that many of the doubts they may have had will now be cast aside and the success of the project will depend only on how it is financed.

Arnold Richter and Hans-Georg Brum explain the new plans

Planning office Arnold Richter and Mayor Hans-Georg Brum explain the plans for the new swimming pool

As one local resident put it: “where else do you see the town planning officer and the mayor present the plans for a new building by climbing up onto a ping-pong table?”


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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