Financing a stop-gap playground

By Tina Bürger, Volksbank Raiffeisenbank eG Itzehoe

Financing a stop-gap playground

The Volksbank Raiffeisenbank demolished four buildings in Breite Strasse in Itzehoe. The area should be built up once more in one and a half years at the latest.
“It will presumably be used for commercial purposes and senior citizen housing,” claimed Board spokesperson Stephan Schack. However, until we reach that stage, the land should not lie uncultivated. “We don’t want it to become the largest dog toilet in Itzehoe,” said Schack. A playground in the middle of the town – a dream? The Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Itzehoe built a play area on 1000m². For €20,000 the gap created by the demolition work was filled.

For the temporary use of the area, the Volksbank issued an invitation to the “We’re building a playground” workshop with Carsten Roeder from the town’s child and youth affairs office. The town has worked alongside children when designing playgrounds for many years. There are circa 50 playgrounds in Itzehoe. “We want to talk about playground number 51 today,” stated Roeder. 150 customers who hold a youth account with the bank were invited to the workshop, with seven registering in the end.

“I think the river at the paddling pool is great,” said Johann Schack (6), son of the bank director Stephan Schack. “In parts we have really wild ideas during the workshop such as an archery facility,” said Roeder. Architect Ralf Momsen checked all ideas from a ropeway to a sand digger for feasibility. He also had one idea on the financial framework and the dismantling of the playground after a year during the process. All of these things didn’t make it any easier for him to realise the children’s fantasies, stated Momsen.

The result is a sight to behold: a climbing tower with a slide, swings, table tennis table and additional playground equipment are just waiting to be used by the children. Benches were also installed so that the parents can always keep an eye on their children playing. The lush green turf has grown in well, the play sand is clean – the entire playground looks like it came from the pages of a picture book. "We have a mentor who stops by at unscheduled intervals to make sure that everything is in order,” announced press officer for Volksbank Raiffeisenbank eG ItzehoeTina Bürger. “We made a conscious decision to collaborate with companies from the region - after all we have deep roots here. They did a tremendous job.”

“In a year’s time the equipment could be passed on to a community through a competition,” stated Schack.

The Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Itzehoe shows, that it isn’t really that difficult to make the town centre attractive – and to breathe life into the pedestrianised area. Everything is, therefore, exactly as Stephan Schack and those who shared his vision had wished as they searched for a stop-gap use for the empty building plot after the four houses were demolished. “It is definitely wise not to lose sight of the playground’s purpose. First of all, however, the excellent weeks of the year are there to be enjoyed with countless children playing in the direct vicinity. The first warm days of 2013 have shown that the playground right in the middle of the town centre has developed into a star attraction for adults and children alike. That was the goal of the project during the planning stage but no-one could have predicted the level of enthusiasm it has been greeted with by children and adults alike,” said Tina Bürger.


Photos: Volksbank Raiffeisenbank eG Itzehoe
 

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