Outlook for the New Year Bonn: City projects to be completed in 2019

BONN · In the city of Bonn there are several projects underway that will change the cityscape and possibly the everyday life of some people. Here’s an overview of what Bonn can expect in 2019.

Everybody wishes each other a happy new year these days. Of course nobody knows what it will bring. In the city of Bonn, as every year, a number of short and long-term projects are underway that will change the cityscape and perhaps even the lives of some people. Some topics have been occupying the Bonners for quite some time, some are new on the agenda. Here’s an outlook without claiming to be complete.

The Maximilian Center

The new Maximilian-Center of the investor Ten Brinke is on the home straight already. The first tenants will move in at the main station, including a Rewe To Go and dm as well as the textile discounter Primark as the main tenants. At the turn of the year Ten Brinke, which has sold the property to the supplementary pension fund of the Bavarian municipalities, hands over the first rooms. The arrival of Primark does not meet with approval everywhere. The opening is planned for autumn.

The Bonn contract

Behind the scenes it's all about the future. For months, Lord Mayor Sridharan has had a group consisting of politicians and top officials from Bonn and the region working on preparing the Bonn Agreement, which is to be concluded with the federal government. Because the federal government has been relocating more and more ministry posts to Berlin for years, the agreement is intended to secure the former capital as a second political centre in addition to the Berlin/Bonn Act. The working group discusses the joint negotiating position - including concrete compensation demands to the federal government. The start of talks with Berlin is now apparently imminent.

The public pools

The city administration will shortly commission an external office for around 200,000 Euro to organise a citizens' participation process on the future of the baths. First of all, associations, clubs and initiatives will discuss the options. Then 75 to 125 representatively selected citizens of Bonn will prepare a citizens' report in planning groups, which should be available by the end of 2019. The council will then have to decide which public pools will be renovated or possibly replaced by new ones. The coalition of the CDU, the Greens and the FDP has pushed through the procedure against the will of the opposition, who wants to renovate all the district pools.

The driving ban

In 2019, Bonn's inner-city traffic will receive even more attention than it already does: Will the Münster Higher Administrative Court overturn the driving ban for many diesel and petrol cars on Reuterstraße and Belderberg? Or will it stay that way, and cohorts of drivers will have to look around for alternative routes? This is what the new year will be all about, as well as the question of how well the model projects for air improvement are working. The volume of traffic in the city will be an indicator of how attractive 365-Euro-tickets, better access to job tickets and tighter intervals on many bus and train lines really are. And how well the 37 million Euro in tax money from the federal budget was invested in Bonn…

The candidate freestyle

In 2020, several local elections (city council, mayor and district representatives) are on the agenda. The parties will already start searching for candidates this year. Some long-standing elected representatives will no longer take office. These include Georg Fenninger (66), a member of the Council and former CDU parliamentary party leader, as well as Helmut Redeker and Herbert Spoelgen, SPD members. Peter Finger has announced his withdrawal from local politics with the Greens. At the FDP, the members of the parliamentary group are still keeping a low profile. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan, who won the first round of elections in 2015 with 50.06 percent, wants to continue in any case. In the meantime, Sridharan has publicly declared that he wants to be available for a second term in office.

The Venusberg ropeway

The economic cost-benefit calculation for the controversial ropeway project will be available in the course of the year. The city has commissioned the study and expects results by the summer. The idea of a ropeway from the UN campus up to the Venusberg with the option of an extension over the Rhine is therefore still under consideration after an initial feasibility study has classified the project as realistic. The economic analysis must come to a positive conclusion if the state is to receive 90 percent funding. Otherwise, the cable car would have „died“. Some residents in Dottendorf and the surrounding area are protesting against its construction.

Beethoven's jubilee year

The 250th birthday is not until 2020, but the celebrations are already starting this year. The Beethoven House is already planning to open a newly designed exhibition in the birthplace of the famous composer this summer. General Music Director Dirk Kaftan will give the opening concert of the anniversary year with the Beethoven Orchestra on December 16. In 2020, the audience can look forward to stars such as Teodor Currentzis and Sir Simon Rattle with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Opera House

Not only are the pools open to public participation - but also the future of the municipal theatre buildings. Mayor Ashok Sridharan wants to put only two of the six variants to the vote: Either the restoration of the opera, the play and the Beuel theatre workshops for a total of around 130 million Euro - whereby the costs for an interim wooden venue would already have been taken into account. Or demolition of the opera house and a new building at the previous location, combined with the renovation of the houses in Bad Godesberg and Beuel. According to the city, this, together with the interim venue, would cost around 161 million Euro. The council still has to agree to the citizen participation.

The city dean

Habemus sacerdotem - we have a new pastor. Not only had the members of the cathedral community been waiting for this news. Because their leading pastor at the same time fulfils the function of the city chancellor, the entire Catholic parish Bonn had looked at this personnel question. Much faster than expected, the Archdiocese of Cologne found a successor for Wilfried Schumacher in the form of the Bad Godesberg pastor Wolfgang Picken, who had resigned from all offices after the so-called financial scandal at the cathedral in May 2018. In March Picken will start his ministry at the cathedral. The basilica has been closed for a year and a half due to extensive renovation work. The Münsterladen has been closed for good since September 2018.

The European Baseball Championships

The European Baseball Championships take place in Bonn and Solingen in September. Following the refurbishment of a square in the baseball stadium of Bonn Capitals in the Rheinaue, a second square is now to be modernised for around 745,000 Euro and completed by the European Championships. The refurbishment of the second pitch will primarily focus on the requirements of the course as a federal base and state performance centre. 48 percent of the costs will be borne by the state of NRW. The facility is one of two federal bases of the German Baseball and Softball Association.

The North Bridge

While the city of Bonn is still busy with the demolition and construction of the Viktoria Bridge - work is not expected to be completed before 2021 - motorists must prepare for further bridge construction work in Bonn. The Landesbetrieb Straßen NRW plans to continue with the refurbishment of the bridge following the refurbishment of the left bank of the Rhine on the northern bridge in spring. From 2028, the Friedrich-Ebert Bridge is to be demolished and six lanes are to be built in the course of the new construction.

The sewage sludge

The plans for a sewage sludge incineration plant on the site of the waste incineration plant (MVA) have been temporarily put on ice by the city council. Citizens from Weststadt and Endenich had registered massive protests against the plant. Above all, they fear a drastic increase in truck traffic in the west of Bonn. It remains to be seen how things will continue: The city of Bonn must reorganize its sewage sludge incineration by 2029, because the legislator has stipulated a binding recovery of phosphorus by then. As an alternative to the location of the waste incineration plant, a new construction of the existing plant at Salierweg is still conceivable.

(Original text: Andreas Baumann, Lisa Inhoffen, Rüdiger Franz, Philipp Königs; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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