Frohgelaunt winken die aktiven Teilnehmer des 6. Dorffestes in der Lausitzer Gemeinde Kroppen (Oberspreewald-Lausitz) auf ihren Fahrzeugen beim Festumzug am Samstag (31.08.2002) den Zuschauern, Einwohnern und Gästen, am Straßenrand zu. Bei hochsommerlichem Wetter sind zu dem Fest am Wochenende über zehntausend Schaulustige gekommen. Das Fest, das es seit 1996 als ländliches Gegenstück zum Brandenburg-Tag gibt, wurde vom brandenburgischen Agrarministerium mit 18.000 Euro unterstützt. dpa/lbn (zur Meldung lbn 080 vom 01.09.2002) +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The bus only runs twice a day – and does not stop in all villages in the region. That’s why Matthias Schulling, mayor of the municipality of Uckerland in the very north of Brandenburg, wants to offer car sharing with electric cars.

He was a guest at the Potsdam State Chancellery on Monday. Because his community is one of a total of 71 communities that have been awarded funding from the “Cohesion in Small Communities” program.

The Potsdam State Chancellery provided a total of five million euros to support innovative and sustainable projects in rural areas. The state wants to support electric mobility in Uckerland with a total of 58,500 euros. The community wants to buy a car for this, which will then be driven by volunteers and used by all citizens.

“Our challenge is that mobility is not available for all residents of the community at the moment,” says Schulling. At the same time, only 16 inhabitants per square kilometer lived in Uckerland. The existing local transport cannot supply such an area.

“It’s not economically feasible,” says Schulling. With the planned car-sharing project, young people could also be driven to the club or older people without a car to the neighboring small towns.

Many other small towns in the state are also benefiting from the funding: in the Blindow district of Prenzlau, for example, the roofing of a stage forecourt is being funded from the cohesion pot. In Fürstenwerder, the Evangelical parish received 149,400 euros for the “Culture in the parish garden” project, and in Blüthen in der Prignitz 90,000 euros went to the parish for the conversion of a farm building.

The “Sükower Landleben” association in the Sükow district of Perleberg received EUR 128,000 for a multifunctional village community center, and the municipality of Groß Pankow received EUR 134,985 for upgrading the gymnasium in Lindenberg.

In Potsdam-Mittelmark, the municipality of Wiesenburg will receive EUR 150,000 for digital announcement boxes and the “Smart Village” association in Hagelberg, a district of Bad Belzig, will receive EUR 149,000 for a mobility campus. Playgrounds, wayfinding systems, the redesign of a village green or the setting up of old telephone boxes as “book boxes” in rural areas are also funded.

But for many small towns, there is still a drop of bitterness: In the end, despite quite creative projects, they got nothing. A total of 184 applications were received, only 71 were approved. “That’s why we only allowed one application per municipality,” says the Minister in the State Chancellery, Katrin Schneider. The applications were then selected by a six-person jury.

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Its members included Hanka Mittelstädt, Managing Director of Pro-Agro, and Frank Schütz from the Village Movement Association. “There was obviously not enough money to approve all the projects,” says Julia Schultheiss from the state youth council. “That’s why we first looked for projects that hadn’t applied for the maximum possible funding of 150,000 euros in order to be able to fund as many projects as possible.” Whether the program should be continued? There was no corresponding commitment from Schneider on Monday.

The situation is different for the SPD parliamentary group, which helped launch the program when designing the future investment fund. “I am very pleased that, on the initiative of the SPD parliamentary group, we can now support innovative and pioneering projects in all parts of Brandenburg with five million euros,” said parliamentary group leader Daniel Keller. His group would be willing to discuss a continuation as part of the double budget. However, the necessary funds would then have to be available.