“Annual outlook 2022” interview with alsfeld’s mayor stephan paule paule on industrial area: “the fear that it should go on immediately there is completely unfounded”

ALSFELD (ls). 2022 casts large shadows ahead, especially for Alsfeld. There are large projects such as the Kita new building, which are finished, again others, like the disputed industrial area, stand in the starting blocks and the city anniversary with its multiplicity at meetings, lets hope for alternation. A full program, which waits there for the mayor of Alsfeld Stephan Paule, as he tells in the interview to the annual outlook.

Stephan Paule is upset – and just a few days after the new year began. Annoyed about the fact that the fiber optic expansion in and around Alsfeld is progressing so slowly. Already two years ago, the city had bet on TNG, then a few days ago he read at OL that the core city has not reached the quota, but the company still wants to expand and is confident to still reach the quota.

For the mayor, this seems like a stalling tactic. "My fear is that they will always keep Alsfeld on their list pro forma and not implement what they keep promising us," Paule explains. Already the Goetel promised much to the city, nothing held and Alsfeld then dropped.

Fischbach was promised broadband expansion, but now it is not possible because the town, like Heidelbach, can only be connected if the core town reaches the quota. "As mayor, this does not satisfy me at all," says Paule. As a city one is powerless here and nevertheless the citizens would unload their frustration over it with the city. Especially for this reason, they are already working on other solutions behind the scenes, in case they are also "let down" by the TNG.

The legal situation of the European Union and also the federal right are however in this affair very complex, so that a fast remedy is not possible. There had been promises that by June last year the first houses would be on the grid. Now, he says, construction is underway in some places, sidewalks are being torn up and a cable is being pulled here and there. As mayor, Paule would like to see results at last, but he remains realistic: "First of all, there would have to be construction in Romrod, there is hardly a cable pulled, let alone a single house connected."If Stephan Paule had a wish, then that the topic finds a conclusion in this year.

A poster of the TNG in Lingelbach.

Lessons learned from A49 protests

It’s not the only challenge the city faces – quite the opposite, in fact. In this year namely a further milestone stands: Start in the new industrial area "Am Weiben Weg", which has been controversial and much discussed from the very beginning. On an area of 44 hectares, near the Homberg, space for industry is to be created, which meets with resistance from politics, society and nature and environmental associations, and is already reminiscent of the protests against the construction of the A49 motorway.

The mayor has learned from the protests in the neighboring municipality: "What I have said before – and I think those who are critical of the industrial area also agree with me – is that disputes must never become violent. Arguments must be exchanged and discussed."Critics must be allowed to express their opinion, but the truth also includes that it has been the will of all parties in the city council and of the entire administration for years to designate the industrial park.

Since 2013, he said, the industrial park has repeatedly been in the election platforms of the parties that were elected in the majority. "It would be absurd if the CDU, which took up the cause of the industrial area in the 2021 local elections and then won an absolute majority, were now to say to the voters: ‘We are not fulfilling what we promised in the elections,’" explains Paule. But that shouldn’t prevent us from engaging with critics and discussing issues with them. However, it is important that the arguments of the pro-side are also accepted.

"Annual outlook 2022" interview with alsfeld's mayor stephan paule paule on industrial area: "the fear that it should go on immediately there is completely unfounded"

"There’s no rampant land sealing or land expansion to the other side here, and there’s as much environmental protection as possible within this commercial area," Paule says. Just a few weeks ago, fears were raised by BUND that the industrial area would also be expanded to the opposite side because the area was "downgraded" from an agricultural priority area to an agricultural reservation area in the draft of the new regional plan.

Paule disagrees: no expansion of commercial area planned

Paule contradicts the fears. After an industrial site analysis, in which 16 possible sites were compared and evaluated on the basis of their commercial suitability, recreational value and impact on environmental protection and species conservation, the site at Weisse Weg had emerged. Now, if more industrial parks were to be designated, then after broad political participation, the site analysis would have to continue first, and then the regional plan would have to be adjusted. To explain, a priority area is designated solely for a specific use – in this case: agriculture. In contrast, another use is also possible on a reserved area, but one that fits thematically with agriculture – such as a development with a biogas plant or but photovoltaics.

Nevertheless: No matter whether agricultural priority or reservation area, it remains an area for agriculture – and the way to change that remains the same way as with the White Way more than ten years ago. "None of these steps have been started, nor is there the political will to start them at the moment. Of course, a mayor never commits himself for the next ten or 20 years, but the fear that it will immediately continue there is completely unfounded," says Paule.

As a city, Paule believes, one will still have to endure some criticism here. "I see already that in some places arguments are so sharpened that it is no longer a factual debate, but that very strong generalizations are made. This also affects me to some extent, but in the end it must not stop me from continuing to talk about it."

However, the industrial area is not the only major construction project: With the Feldstrabe daycare center, a multi-million project will be completed, which should be groundbreaking for the future, and Alsfeld’s Erlenbad swimming pool will also be completed, so that the indoor swimming pool season can open on time in the fall, while the renovation of the open-air swimming pool continues.

The new bridge over the Schwalm in the Erlen is to be installed, a few meters further the skate park opens already in the spring, in the Grunberger street the city center densification is to be advanced, just like the designation of a new building area between the B62 and the Reibertenroder way, "whereby one knows here that we will not build here yet this year", adds Paule.

The skate park in Alsfeld is scheduled to open in spring.

And while some projects are being completed, elsewhere things are just getting started: Talks are to be held with the owner of the Welle site about further development – possibly towards a residential quarter; on the Bucking site, the construction of the teachers’ academy is being supported; in Berfa, the renovation of the daycare center is to begin and the mobile home park is to be expanded. A lot is also being invested in road renovations: The road in Angenrod, the road in Elbenrod and also the road in the Rambach – according to Paules the biggest "pothole runway" in Alsfeld – is to be renovated. "These are, of course, investments that do not cause storms of enthusiasm, because they are part of the mandatory program," says the mayor.

The acquisition of land and the demolition of the Krausmuller farm in Leusel, which the city wants to start this year, should generate greater enthusiasm – and in any case, several projects are planned in the city districts as part of the IKEK program. "Alsfeld consists not only of the core city, even if it is our historical gem. But we still have 16 other smaller gems," says Paule. That is why he is also pleased to promote the districts with the IKEK – all these are projects that are close to his heart.

The paving around the Schwalmer fountain is to be completed this year.

Exhibition planned in the museum for the town’s anniversary

Speaking of historical gems: After the market square was completed last year, the ordered street furniture is to be installed this year and the front church square is also to be completed, as well as the area around the Schwalmer fountain. But the renovation of the old town is not finished: Now the town entrances are to be brought into focus, as well as the Schnepfenhain parking deck and private renovations.

Also into the Alsfelder museum one will this year – punctually to the 800th anniversary of the opening of the museum. City anniversary – can set foot again, the mayor announces. The museum has now been closed for over six years, but the first milestones have been reached and the Neurathhaus and its facade are already shining in new splendor. The Tourist Center is scheduled to move in before the end of the year. When the museum moved around 1977 and opened in the Neurathhaus and Minnigerodehaus, there was a strict budget, as Paule explains. At that time, for example, not everything had been done professionally, which now needs to be renovated.

A look at the new facade of the Neurath House.

This year, it is now a matter of deciding which areas of the museum, such as the barn, a museum store or the backyard, will be included in the redevelopment; until then, some time could still pass. "In a town like Alsfeld with such historic buildings, you are never quite finished. We will plan very rough construction times, after which we estimate we could be finished with the Minnigerode House in 2025. What happens with the rest of the area then, must first of all the policy decide", says Paule.

For the anniversary there should also be a smaller exhibition – provided that the infection situation allows events at this time. In any case, the mayor remains optimistic that he will be able to celebrate the anniversary this year. "In which framework, with how many guests and whether the planned events can really all take place, that decides the pandemic in the end. (…) We are not going to box through events against medical necessities."

And how does it continue for Stephan Paule personally? From time to time there are rumors in town that the calls to Wiesbaden are getting louder for the mayor of Alsfeld. "I am elected for six years, there is no other offer and in 2025 I will hopefully bring this term to an end as successfully as possible. And in time before then it will also be decided whether I will enter the race again. As of today I would say that I enjoy the job."

Studied in Giessen German language and literature and art history. Completed her traineeship at Oberhessen-live from 2016 and has been an editor at the online magazine since 2018.

2 thoughts on" Paule to industrial area: "The fear that it should go on immediately there is completely unfounded""

I see big shadows coming for Alsfeld.Everyone is looking forward to the many
Trucks at night, the smell, the noise, the light, the diesel fumes and much more.

The past was grandiose, or how?

Large parts of the local population have to commute to earn their living… Of course this does not cause any stench and no CO2.

Mr. Kalbfleisch, they are certainly already since 1987 CO2 neutrally on the way, if they give such large word phrases from itself?

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