Bad Godesberg City Marketing met with business owners of Arabic origin to plan initiatives for image-building. White roses are to be handed out this Sunday.
After the brawl at Aennchenplatz in August and subsequent raid on businesses in Villichgasse in which a shisha bar, two real estate offices and a supermarket were shut down, the state parliament has now been drawn into the fray. Representative from Bonn, Joachim Stamp (FDP), has sent a series of questions to the North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) state government: Were those arrested already known to police? Do the suspects belong to organized bands or have ties to the criminal scene? He is waiting for answers to those and other questions.
In the meantime, the City Marketing Association and its chair Jürgen Bruder are working together with businesses run by those of Arabic descent to improve the image of the Aracadia Passage. At a dinner in “Restaurant Damaskus”, they discussed what could be done immediately to improve the situation as well as long-term initiatives.
One outcome will be quickly realized next weekend when Bad Godesberg city merchants hold their “Stadtfest” (City fest). The Arabic businesspeople have decided to participate and will hand out white roses to Bad Godesberg residents at the corner of Villichgasse and Aennchenplatz beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 18. To counter the talk of “two worlds”, referring to a parallel society, participants will wear red T-shirts with “Ein Godesberg” (One Godesberg) on one side and “Gemeinsam stark” (Together strong) on the other side.
As well, there was discussion about handing out gift certificates for the shisha bar. “People always associate shisha bars with being problematic,” said the manager of the Aracadia Passage shisha bar. With the idea of gift certificates, he thought they could invite Bad Godesberg residents in to try it out and convince them otherwise.
Long-term plans for improving the image of Arcadia Passage include a family fest, flea market and an Open Door day in the Passage, organized by City Marketing. No problem - said Bruder, if the businesses join the City Marketing Association. At the dinner at least, there was a resounding “ja” to this suggestion.
The owner of the men’s clothing shop, “Insider,” said it was about erasing fears and showing a sign of friendship. He was the one who had the idea to hand out the white roses and said he realizes residents regard the area with skepticism, something that he wants to change. As the owner of the Arcadia Passage, he does not want to see the ghettoization of the area.
(Orig. text: Ayla Jacob)