Who is there out there that doesn’t have an idea or two about how things might be improved. We see and hear about events, places, ideas every single day of our lives and either think: I could do that, or: They could do that better if…
Here, in our little north German town, it is much the same. Tourism, industry, politics, everything is in competition with the larger neighbors, with those who have money and ideas, those who have no money but ideas and those who sit on the couch and tell others what they should, when, how and why it could have been so much better.
An interesting letter published in the local newspaper – which could be so much better – is one of these good idea letters designed to get people going, to inspire them, to see that things happen. And that although it simply reiterates things which have been said, initiated, planned and carried out over many years. The writer, a businessman from the area recently elected to the City Council as an Independent, begins with the obvious: it is up to the people of our town what happens, and they should all take a part in bringing improvements through the political and financial machinery to fruition.
He makes a few concrete suggestions, ranging from the demolition of ruined buildings to create a panorama view across the river – only one is meant here and it, sadly, is in private ownership – through to the creation of more green areas, gardens and parks where visitors and tourists can sit and relax and spend their time, and money. Through this initiative, he claims, more investors will approach the town and industry – job prospects – will increase. Where there are jobs there are people, and more younger families will move to their town, either taking over the few empty houses here, or building new ones on one of the estates. New families means more people shopping here, more cultural opportunities, further investment.
Considerably more firm is his suggestion that the local paper factory – due to invest about one hundred million Euro in the coming years – be asked / convinced to give up land to construct new parking spaces around the Catholic Church and the Culture Center. For the Culture Center and the – unmentioned – museum a bonus in limited fashion. For the Catholic church a bonus in very limited fashion. None of these institutions are over-used, there is merely a little bit of discontent amongst people living in the three streets nearby when outsiders come and park their vehicles to worship, to attend a concert or look at the small selection of historical objects in the museum.
Suggestions that he does not make, which would have been considerably more relevant, include the future use of the old Castle (which is a Manor House by architectural definition) which, since the closure of Lower Saxony’s smallest court is unused.
The idea of bringing in more investment, thus creating jobs and attracting more people who will live here and spend their money in the town is hardly a new concept. The employment level in our town is higher than any other in the region, and the town is held as a model for communities who need to improve their own statistics.
There is, however, a little paragraph in the newspaper which some people might have overseen, since it doesn’t really have anything to do with them. A small, almost unnoticed bar, right in the middle of town and on one of the main thoroughfares, is to close its doors after only eighteen months. Directly across the street from this bar is a large sign proclaiming the building of a new cafeteria by a bakery from outside the town, an enhancement across from a disappointment.
The thing with the bar is perhaps a little hidden in shadows. The bar is to close because the owner doesn’t have enough time to handle all the paperwork involved, to see that supplies are ordered, to ensure that everything runs as it should. he has a discotheque in another town to run, a family and, since earlier this year, a place on the City Council which takes up all his time. The people who worked in the bar will have to find something else to occupy their time, as will those who sat across from them and spent their money. A small cultural offering disappears.
In case you haven’t noticed the connection, the owner of this bar is also the writer of the letter published in the local newspaper.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words, no matter how good an orator someone may be.
Love & Kisses, Viki.