Residents are hard on the arrival of the Salvation Army Groenelaan; Kreuger kept his mouth shut for two years

Schiedam – Emotions are high during the Schiedam Zuid neighborhood meeting on Monday 16 May. Dozens of residents are present in Gorzen to discuss various points. Of the various points of attention that will be discussed, in particular, the Salvation Army’s arrival at Groenelaan created unrest among the residents present. “You have to realize that there is fear for the people it attracts.”

District Director Marcel Kreuger is leading this emotional evening. He invited Hans van den Hoek to talk about the arrival of the meeting place. Van Den Hoek is an officer in the Salvation Army. He says he is aware of the concerns in the neighborhood: “I understood that there are some objections. We want to turn the neighborhood into a living room. In fact, we want nothing more than a living room in the neighborhood, a clothing store, to help people with debt counseling and nothing more. ”

> See also: Salvation Army wants to set up a ‘community center’ with a ‘second-hand shop’ in De Gorzen


Yet Van Den Hoek’s words do not reassure residents. The arrival of the Salvation Army raises many questions among the residents: ‘What kind of people are coming here?’ “Why this place, there are already so many similar agencies here?” And above all: ‘What about the safety of our children in the future?’

Local resident Heidi van der Markx has lived on a side street in Groenelaan for 21 years. Van Der Markx’s concerns about the arrival of the venue have not disappeared, according to Van Den Hoek. “Not quite. I’m afraid it’s attracting the wrong people. I’m afraid you’ll help people in debt for my daughter’s safety. Just look at the food bank!”

Van Den Hoek says the town hall focuses on residents in the neighborhood itself. The visitors will mainly be people from the neighborhood itself. “We do not get people with a substance or alcohol abuse here, they are not here. We want to receive you, receive your children. We want to be there for people who feel lonely. ”

Kreuger kept his mouth shut for two years

Tensions in the hall reach a peak when it comes to informing the neighborhood in advance about the arrival of the town hall. The residents’ blame mainly focuses on the contact that had not been sought prior to the construction. “For that, I have to stick my hand in my own bosom,” Van Den Hoek says. Van Den Hoek promises residents that cooperation with the neighborhood will be sought. “We should have done that in advance. It’s a shame it did not happen, and I blame myself for that. “

District Director Marcel Kreuger also gets a kick in the evening. According to Van Den Hoek, there was contact before the corona about the possible arrival of the venue. Unacceptable, several residents believe. “Kreuger knew about this, but kept his mouth shut for two years,” shouted a resident across the room.


Van Den Hoek stands up for Kreuger: “I would like if Mr Kreuger was not attacked. I have something to explain, I said people should get acquainted with the district, but it did not happen.” According to Kreuger himself, there been ‘quiet’ for two years after the contact with the Salvation Army. Until a few weeks ago, when the renovation was already in full swing. Kreuger calls the accusations unacceptable. “I think it’s ridiculous that you have already made your verdict without know what’s going on. “


Another issue that concerns the residents is the question of why a new town hall should be built on this plot. According to Van Den Hoek, the Salvation Army can offer something not yet found in Gorzen. “It is an assembly hall in combination with meaning. We believe there is more. As the Army of Salvation, we want to spread that. We believe this is an addition to what already exists. ”

The evening concludes with the promise that the Salvation Army will seek cooperation with various initiatives already present in the district. Van Den Hoek: “The plan is to seek cooperation and remove emotions.”

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