Dear fellow citizens of Kalkar,
the year 2020 or how Covid 19 changed the world. A year that we will remember. A year in a state of emergency that we consider almost normal.
Health has always been important, but never before has it determined our lives in such a way. Flourishing economic sectors – especially the service sector, the catering and leisure industries, many smaller companies – have enormous problems and will only recover with difficulty. Social life has almost come to a standstill, leaving behind loneliness, especially in older people, and in everyone longing for contact, for happiness and light-heartedness, for normal, everyday encounters.
We welcomed the year 2020 with a New Year’s Eve party and fireworks, every single one of them had hopes and plans for the new year. Carnival meetings and parades provided carefree joy and fun. Then it was over suddenly. The number of infections rose massively and threatened to overload our health system, something that had already happened in other European countries. Lockdown, a word that has hardly been heard until now. An idle society.
In the summer, the number of infections dropped and a little hope grew. The hope turned out to be deceptive, because all the numerous events that otherwise shape urban and private life had to continue to be canceled. No “Kalkar in bloom”, no “Summer in the city”, no “Kalkar Enjoy”, no markets, no shooting festivals, no village festivals, no big wedding or birthday parties. Some exhibitions in the municipal museum, for example the presentation on the history of Appeldorn and Kehrum, could be visited, a few concerts took place, including open-air in the Dominican Bongert.
The lockdown has slowed life overall and created significant delays in many urban projects. The effects of the corona crisis on the city’s financial situation remain to be seen. We can be very happy that we have succeeded in building up a small financial cushion in recent years, which will hopefully allow us to survive the next few years without budgetary security.
Despite the adverse circumstances, some important urban projects were brought to a conclusion. The renovation of the school center was completed in the summer with the move of the primary school into the former high school building, a huge project for everyone involved. The city of Kalkar now has a school center that is impressive and offers all children very good opportunities for a great school education in our city. The digitization of schools has made significant progress this year. The established pick-up and delivery zone is now part of the school center. It serves the safety of all students. Unfortunately, some of the sensible measures are still being ignored.
The urban development concept continues. Among other things, a design manual for the monument area was developed, a courtyard and facade program and a disposal fund were launched. The important tourism concept is understandably delayed due to Corona and the direct impact of the actors involved, but it is still important to describe and implement specific perspectives.
The plans for the redesign of the market square and the adjacent streets have largely been completed, as has the plans for the market square in Grieth. The commercial space in the Kalkar-Ost industrial estate has been sold, and the district’s rescue station has been completed. You can see how important it was to secure new commercial space in Kehrum and to start the necessary land-use planning. Construction work on the designated residential areas in Altkalkar has started. The first residential building plots have been sold on Gocher Strasse. An agricultural roadway concept was approved, thus providing the basis for future planning. A streetball court was opened in the summer and a playground concept shows us completely new ways for our playgrounds. At this point I would not like to miss the opportunity to thank a student at our secondary school who informed me in a letter that many young people wanted to have a mountain bike dirt track in Kalkar. The planning is already underway and will open up new opportunities for young people in the coming year. A second OGS group was set up in Appeldorn, and another kindergarten in Altkalkar is being planned. The senior citizens’ advisory board has been set up and thus brings new aspects into the planning. Finally, the intermunicipal agreement on the Huisberden / Emmericher Eyland fire department was finalized.
In September I was once again elected mayor with a clear majority. That was a great confirmation and I was very happy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for the trust you have placed in me. I will work hard not to disappoint you and to advance the city of Kalkar together with you.
Dear citizens, in spite of all the restrictions, I wish you a merry Christmas, a bit of happiness and light-heartedness. Go into the year 2021 with optimism and anticipation. I wish you a lot of strength and confidence in everything that 2021 brings.
Dr. Britta Schulz