Straubing does not have zoo signs on the motorway – Bavaria

Tigers and toucans have literally been the flagship of the zoo in Straubing since 2001. The animals draw the attention of drivers to the zoo on two brown highway signs. Now the signs have to go. Because: The city council unanimously decided to demolish it on Monday evening, although not entirely voluntarily. Rather, Autobahn GmbH asked the city to remove or replace the signs, said Mayor Markus Pannermayr (CSU).

The demolition will cost around 10,000 euros and the installation of two new signs will cost around 83,000 euros. Too much, the councils think. According to the mayor, the background is that the two signs do not comply with the new guidelines for tourist signs on motorways and must be removed “for reasons of traffic safety”. The city cannot do anything legally about it, said Pannermayr.

The city councilors do not want to accept an increase in prices by a factor of 14 compared to the costs in 2001. There is cross-party agreement on this matter. “It’s not a space mission that we’re doing. It’s about two signs. That should actually be possible for 15,000 to 20,000 euros,” said Pannermayr.

The town hall boss drew a comparison to another tourist highlight in the city: the Gäubodenvolksfest. If the price of beer had risen as much as the cost of the signs since 2001, he calculated, much to the amusement of the city councilors, then the mass of beer would have cost a good 75 euros.

It would be entirely possible to “scrape out” the sum for the new signs from the zoo’s budget, said Pannermayr. But: “Is it worth it to us? Can it be worth it to us? Is there something in the cultural or sports sector where money is needed?” The council concluded the money could be better spent elsewhere.

“You don’t have to have a sign at any price,” said CSU man Holger Frischhut, who gets around a lot of people as a chimney sweep. The signs were a big topic during his home visits and he was repeatedly asked about them by citizens. Karl Dengler (ÖDP) also said that these costs could not be communicated to people. SPD councilor Peter Euler suggested that other affected municipalities should also refuse to pay this price for new signs. The signs used to be two by three meters large. According to the new rule, they would have to be 2.4 meters by 3.6 meters, said the local politician. He criticized the bureaucracy.

Laughter was caused by Adolf Herpich (Free Voters), who had pictures of the signs he had taken himself projected onto the wall, particularly showing the poles. He asked what about it was worth 83,000 euros. There are also two other signs on the motorway that point to the Straubing Roman Treasure. There may be a further request from the federal government for these. Herpich suggested that the zoo signs be put up again on the nearby federal highway after they were demolished – after all, the city had paid for both the erection and the demolition – and this caused amusement and approval.

Pannermayr announced that he wanted to contact farmers about properties along the federal highway. Other cities have also received similar requests from Autobahn GmbH because of their tourist information signs, said the Straubing town hall boss, who is also chairman of the Bavarian Association of Cities.

In October 2023, the Taxpayers’ Association pointed out a similar case in the city of Sangerhausen in Saxony-Anhalt in its black book. Pannermayr said he hopes municipalities will come together on this issue. In times of tight budgets, municipalities are encouraged to save. The costs for the signs would be disproportionate and could not be justified to the citizens. After the lively debate, Mayor said to the councilors with a smile: “I will try to put your mood in a letter and address it to Berlin.”

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