Can Oberursel afford to build a new swimming pool?

The indoor swimming pool in Oberursel has now been closed for four years and is now probably one of the most discussed topics amongst the people and in particular the politicians in the town.

Last week it was on the agenda of the planning and environmental committee at the town hall, this week there is a Bürgerversammlung to update everyone on the current state of the planning and to allow people to put forward their views.  Next week the town council is due to vote on the project.  And various Bebauungspläne have been amended to allow for land to be sold off and built on to finance it all.

But it is the financial situation that remains the biggest question of all: can the town afford it?

Over the past year the plans have been scaled back considerably.  The refurbishment of the outdoor pool (“Freibad”) has been put back between five and six years and the new building for the indoor pool (“Hallenbad”) is going to be built without a sauna area, although space is going to be left to add one later.

Even then the budget for just the building costs was quoted to the planning committee as €10 million, with a further €2.377 million for planning and other costs.

Additional costs will be incurred in order to put a roof over the sauna area (€500,000) and to take down the old building (€900,000).

The disused swimming pool in Oberursel - June 2011

The disused swimming pool in June 2011

To finance this a number of pieces of land are set to be sold off within the town as building land, including the current swimming pool car park.  This land is set to bring in a total of €29 million, but not all of this will be spent on the new building as in selling off the land there are some costs to be met such as removing the car park surface, putting an infrastructure in place, and in some cases even buying alternative land as well.

It was even announced that the some of the pieces of land were already due to be sold anyway and their income earmarked for other projects.  However on the other hand there are also some subsidies due from local government on other levels to even this out somewhat.

So based on those figures, the costs of the scaled down plan is going to be around €14 million and there is potentially something approaching €29 million in the kitty. “Potentially” because even though the building work should begin this autumn, the land first has to be sold off before the town sees any income from it.

But still, that appears to me to be quite a healthy margin. Perhaps I’m missing something here. Everyone seems to be talking about how the money is not sufficient to even build the smallest of the plans.

I think the mayor, Hans-Georg Brum, may have summed up the financial situation most accurately with his statement that “if we are prepared to concentrate our financial efforts on this [the swimming pool] in the coming years and postpone other things then we will be able to manage this project, which is so important for the town”.

I wonder if the people of the town will agree with that sentiment tomorrow?



About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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