Demo at the board meeting in Schorndorf. revolt against impending closure of baths – Rams-Moore County

Several hundred people protested on Tuesday evening in front of Schorndorf’s town hall and there for the preservation of the Schlichten and Bühlbronn swimming pools. Photo by Frank Rodenhausen

Hundreds of residents from Schlichten and Bühlbronn marched to Schorndorf City Hall, where the closure of local swimming pools was to be discussed. Nothing is decided yet, but there is a clear trend.

The message spread like wildfire in towns and cities. To plug the growing holes in the city’s coffers, the Schorndorf administration is considering permanently draining the water from their outdoor pools in Schlichten and Bühlbronn. On Tuesday evening, several hundred people came and returned to the municipality to demonstrate against it.

The Mayer family, which does not want to read its real name in the newspaper, has moved to the market square for three generations. The mother explains that she learned to swim at the Schlichtener Freibädle, and the daughter is proud that she got a seahorse there that summer. Bädle is about much more than learning how to stay afloat, Grandma says. “It’s a meeting place for young and old, an institution and a bit of a simple identity.” Similar things can be heard from the people of Bullbron. and that the centrally located Oskar-Frech-Badin alternative is not an alternative not only because of the distance of the sub-city’s citizens.

Three million euros are missing

Inside the council chamber, first mayor Torsten Englert tries to explain how the paper came to be, now upsetting people who not only fill the guest rows but the floor. The city must save. This is due to a huge investment plan of 200 million euros by 2030, but also because “we are constantly receiving new tasks from federal and state governments that are not properly funded.” Now also the side effects of the Ukrainian war. In addition, there are risks such as rising county tax or salary increases in the public sector. For this reason, the task has been criticized in several closed conferences, and various voluntary services, including municipal baths, have been put to the test.

A cash collapse there has seen the city three million euros short of breaking even next year. In this context, the municipality’s task was therefore to calculate all possible optimization options and hand them over to the commission without excluding anything in advance.

The city administration has clearly hit out at the possible closure of local pools, which the pool company estimates will result in annual savings of around €200,000. At the meeting of the technical committee, Mayor Bernd Hornikel emphasized that he is satisfied with the great public interest. However, he also said he had been “massively attacked”, sometimes below the belt, after the weekend agenda was released. Hornikel anticipated the discussion that he would personally vote against closing local pools, but anyone who wants to do the same should know what it would cost and that the savings would then be needed elsewhere.

In the end, the committee listened almost exclusively to calls for the preservation of the baths of Schlichten and Bulbronn. In the end, the general meeting of the council of elders decides, but it can be assumed that this topic is off the table.

On the other hand, most were in favor of what Daniel Beutel, the public utility’s chief commercial officer, described as a “summer action.” According to this version, the indoor pool of the Oskar-Frech-Bad should no longer be used in the summer, and the sauna should also remain closed during the outdoor pool season. However, the KDM parliamentary group wants to check under what circumstances opening a sauna all year round can make economic sense. Daniel Beutel, on the other hand, offers little hope that this is realistically possible. According to his calculations, the entrance fees should have been increased by almost 15 euros.

The decision of November 17

The administration intends to present a proposal for a decision at the meeting of the Council of Elders to be held on November 17. It can be assumed that the option of complete closure of the baths for 2023 will not be included, nor the option of permanent abandonment of local pools.

A petition to save Schlichten’s outdoor swimming pool, which gained almost 700 supporters in just one day, will remain online for security reasons. Of course, the Mayer family signed it.

Possible savings on municipal pools

It’s not just the city of Schorndorf that has discovered the potential for savings in its pools, as Daniel Beutel, commercial director of the local utility, has explored. In most cases, however, we are currently talking about short-term measures to counter the energy crisis in winter. An excerpt from Beg’s list.

In an indoor pool, the outdoor pool will be closed. The temperature in the pools is lowered. Hot bath days are cancelled. The pool is closed to the public on Mondays. The indoor pools in Hegnach and Bittenfeld will remain closed until Easter 2023.

In Pool F3, the dry sauna is closed, early swims are no longer offered, and bathing temperatures have been lowered.

There will be no winter swimming in the Wunnebad outdoor pool. During the summer months, the indoor pool will be completely closed, and the water temperature in the outdoor pool will be reduced by three, reaching 23.5 degrees Celsius.

The parking fee for swimmers in Leuse, Mineralbad Berg and Solebad Kannstatt will be increased from 1 to 3 euros, regardless of the time of bathing. Warm days for swimming will no longer be offered, it will be cooler in Luz.

Schwäbisch Gmuend
The water temperature in the indoor pool drops from three to 29 degrees. The sauna is closed all season.

cooling down
The sauna in the indoor pool will be closed due to energy saving measures.

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