Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Visit

From 1994 to 2009, I lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany (K-town for me).  For the Thanksgiving period, I went back down.

In 1994, there were hundreds of issues that you might come and note about the local area.  Traffic issues, poorly maintained bridges and roads, marginal shopping (both on-base and off-base), and a feeling that you were still living in the 1960s (this was the 1990s).

Today, if you drive around.....you are fairly shocked at all of the changes and upgrades. Lot of roads and streets in Kaiserslautern have been totally changed.

The base?  It isn't the same as it looked in 1994.  You would be shocked if you came back today.

The old Karstadt in the middle of Kaiserslautern?  Virtually gone, and a giant indoor mall called K in Lautern now sitting there. I spent an hour walking through the place and surprised at the design and look.  Oddly, there are people around the mall but you just don't see anyone much buying anything from the seventy-odd stores in the building.  In the center of the shopping district.....just meters away....you note a couple of store-fronts which are empty and vacant, which is a theme for the bulk of K-town.

Population-wise, K-town was around 104,000 back in the early 1990s.  In 1999, they were noted 100,000, and I would guess the current population is somewhere around 96,000.  There simply aren't any jobs in the local area.  They rely a great deal on the American population to keep cash flow going on and some type of stability for the community.

It's interesting all these great improvements that have been made and would likely draw people in most regions....but it's had virtually no effect on the population situation of K-town.

1 comment:

Jess Short said...

Have a look at Vilseck and Graf, big changes. They even hard balled the tank trails.