750.000 Euros for the bamberg youth hostel

In bamberg’s burgerpark hain, the larkspur, also known as haingoger, conjures up colorful carpets on the forest floor, but on the other side of the river the spring awakening is somewhat different than usual. Currently, 26 asylum seekers live here, most of whom have fled to germany from the russian foderation. But the intermezzo as a refugee center, which the city council decided on last december due to a lack of alternatives, won’t last too much longer.

Already in summer an alternative offers itself. As ralf haupt reported to the city council, around 20 additional places in the house at ludwigstrabe 14 are expected to be available for asylum seekers from july onwards. The government wants to rent the property together with the neighboring house at ludwigstrabe 16, which is already being used as a refugee shelter, as a collective housing facility. According to christian wonka from the real estate management office, the necessary reconstruction will be carried out with high pressure. A move of refugees from the grove to ludwigstrabe could take place directly afterwards.

In the meantime, the finance senate has decided against one vote to set an important course for the future of the former boathouse, which has been used for decades as a youth hostel. All factions voted to divert 750,000 euros from the surprising surplus of the annual accounts for the budget year 2012, a total of 4.9 million euros, for the planned renovation of the popular guesthouse. Only mayor werner hipelius (CSU) fears that the decision could result in a shortage of money for the planned renovation of the schools.

This decision was confirmed at the city council meeting on wednesday. Here, the politicians also learned how the administration plans to tackle the renovation of wolfsschlucht gorge. According to wonka, negotiations are currently underway with both the german youth hostel association and the upper franconian school hostel association about the use of wolfsschlucht in the not too distant future.

The idea of a bicycle hotel and the proposal of the free voters, who brought up the idea of a youth guesthouse, are also to be taken into account. This would not exclude the accommodation of small groups and individuals, but would have lower standards than the youth hostel.
Bamberg’s tourism advocates also welcomed the idea of keeping wolfsschlucht as a special overnight facility for young people. Andreas christel, the head of the tourism service, sees sufficient potential to bind the young target group to bamberg in addition to the youth guesthouse on kaulberg. The reason: bamberg is a particularly popular destination for young people because of its diversity and its significance as a world heritage site.

Admittedly, the "new wolfsschlucht" will not to be had at zero cost. As has been known for years, the former youth hostel needs a lot of renovation, including the heating system, the pipe network, the windows, which are completely outdated from an energy point of view, as well as the number and function of the wet rooms.
In order to define the cost framework, the city council approved a phased approach. According to this, a cost estimate for the highest standard of use is to be determined first, in order to consider savings possibilities in a second step.

At the city council meeting on wednesday, a heated debate flared up about the influence on the course of events of norbert tscherner of the burger-block collecting 7,000 signatures for the continued operation of the youth hostel. "If he hadn’t done that, then we weren’t ready now", CSU spokesman helmut muller dared to say, earning a firm objection from wolfgang metzner (SPD). He spoke of a "lost non-factional city councilor". Tscherner’s action was "as superfluous as a carrot", he called it. The city council has voted from the beginning to keep the hostel – with tscherner’s own vote, as metzner emphasized.

Tscherner also had to put up with reproaches from the green parliamentary group and from mayor andreas starke (SPD). He is playing a dangerous game and has to take the responsibility that bamberg gets a reputation of xenophobia. "Well meant is far from well done", said OB strong.
The majority in the city council made an urgent appeal to the burger-block city council to leave it alone and withdraw the application for a citizens’ petition. With the decision to set aside 750,000 euros, it is ensured that the wolfsschlucht will remain as a youth center. "We show that we don’t just talk, we also act", helmut muller had said.

Tscherner blames city leaders for development in grove. After the government asked the city to take in 150 asylum seekers a year ago, it failed to look for alternatives in time. Only after he started to collect signatures, the city really made an effort. A quick withdrawal of the request refused tscherner. He first wants to consult with his co-initiators and make sure that the renovation really takes place.

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