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American Compound in Bonn: Campaign group wants to rescue kindergarten

American Compound in Bonn : Campaign group wants to rescue kindergarten

The campaign group to rescue the American compound and politicians agreed at a meeting on Friday that the old kindergarten should not be demolished.

At a round table discussion by the campaign group “Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung Plittersdorf” (RASP - Rescue the American Compound in Plittersdorf) on the future of the empty kindergarten building on Friday evening, both politicians and campaigners agreed the kindergarten should not be demolished.

Lutz Beine (SPD), Nikolaus Kirchner (CDU) and Marcel Schmidt (Bürger Bund Bonn) spoke in favour of retaining and restoring the kindergarten building. Although invited, no representative of Vebowag was present at the meeting.

Under the listed buildings law, the owner of a listed building is obliged to keep it in good condition and renovate it in good time. The head of RASP, Rolf Fischer, said as far as the kindergarten and the American Club are concerned, these obligations are not being met. Beine supported the renovation and continued use of the kindergarten and journalist Don Jordan asked why politicians were not putting pressure on Vebowag.

Nikolaus Kirchner said local committees had no influence on the decisions of district committees. He made clear that, “The CDU showed support early on for the preservation of sites of historic interest. Vebowag pursues economic interests, but these should not interfere with the legal rules.” Kirchner said it was not cost efficient for Vebowag to restore and run the kindergarten at the moment but this could soon change. An office for 600 to 900 employees of the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (Federal Office for Information Security) is planned on Ludwig-Erhard-Allee and this would bring demand for public kindergarten places.

Marcel Schmitt warned against forcing the demolition of the kindergarten and said a new build could cause problems with the listed status of the compound. He said he could not understand why politicians were not insisting on the kindergarten being restored. “Vebowag is intentionally banking on deterioration…It seems as if the city administration does not have the will to implement the listed building status.”

The campaign introduced its new website at the meeting. The website, www.rasp-buergerinitiative.de also has photos of the American compound over the years. (Original text: Hannah Locks. Translated by Kate Carey.)