Friends' association builds children's playgrounds

The children's playgrounds already existing in the municipalities of Krün and Klais held little attraction for the children and no longer met the requirements of a contemporary playground.

Friends' association builds children's playgrounds

In autumn 2007 the municipality of Krün decided to build a new, unique playground, which was to be designed to be in keeping with the locality. In December 2007 the friends' association, Förderverein Spielplätze Krün e.V. was founded for this purpose, since the municipality alone was not able to afford the costs of constructing a new playground.

The concept allows each member to choose to pay his annual subscription in 10 Euro instalments. For every 10.00 Euros he receives a certificate of promotion. An example can be seen on the friends' association Internet site (www.foerdervereinkruen.de). The municipality is also a member and the Mayor is an ex officio member of the Board. Purpose: "The promotion of children and youth", since this means that not only donations, but also the membership subscriptions are deductible for tax.

Planning and financing

In autumn and winter 2008 the planning got under way. The friends' association sought the help of the playground planner, Carmen Pfefferkorn from Telfs in the Tyrol. Once it had been decided that, since timber rafting had been the most important occupation in Krün in earlier centuries, this would be the motto, they began the fine planning.

The planning costs amounted to approximately 17,000 Euros. The plans included a university-sponsored project, which investigated the wishes of the population regarding the playground.

"Our playground is being financed by membership subscriptions of about 8,000 Euros per year and numerous individual donations ranging from 10 Euros to 5,000 Euros. We have sent "begging letters" to the population, in particular to the business people, asking for donations and we have also made personal approaches to charitable organisations like the Lions Club, the Rotarians and various foundations in the district. The local clubs and associations have also helped us with donations. In addition, we have raised more money by organising our own activities (cloakroom services at events, participating in various events in the village e.g. the traditional transhumance celebrations, the Christmas Fair, we organised our annual playground festival, the Police Marching Band organised a benefit concert for us, and we produced a calendar). Moreover, we took out a loan for 30,000 Euros with the local Kreissparkasse bank, and we are using the membership subscription to pay it off. This enabled us to finance the necessary expenses in advance and spread the load over several years", said Anneliese Albrecht of the Förderverein Spielplätze Krün e.V.

The friends' association has built the playground as a magnificent example of people working together: a total of over 1,000 hours of voluntary work and some 150,000 Euros have gone into the project so far.

"The construction costs alone have amounted to some 125,000 Euros, including some 100,000 Euros for the playground equipment and we needed approximately 25,000 Euros for the earthworks and all kinds of ancillary costs, such as TÜV (Technical Inspection Association) fees, woodchips, turf, the Floß-o-mat, building materials such as wood, children's play sand, plants and so on and so forth. And of course we cannot forget costs for advertising on billboards, Internet presence, promotional flyers, paper, postage, snacks and drinks for the voluntary workers and much more. These costs are also important," added Anneliese Albrecht.

The friend's association has brought the timber rafting theme to life here as well: For one euro, the children can obtain a little timber raft from the "Floß-o-mat" (the same idea as a cigarette dispenser) and can drive or float the raft downstream along the course of the stream. Weirs and sluice gates have been constructed, through which they can steer the rafts. In addition there are a water wheel and a turbine, which generate electrical power. Another piece of play equipment which recalls the timber rafting trade is a "Wackelfloß", or rocking raft, which have been constructed for the friend's association. It is suspended from four cables, so that when you move on it, it sways to and fro - as if you were sailing on the River Isar. In addition, Felix Wagner has designed a river rafting ride. This is a wave ride, on which the children can pull themselves with a thick rope from one side to the other on a raft.

But of course there are also numerous items of play equipment and play areas, which have nothing to do with timber rafting, but which simply set children's hearts beating faster. This year, for example, we are also adding a low rope climbing garden.

Summary

"I believe that our playground is a terrific example of the combined effort of our village. Many residents have involved themselves by giving donations and / or by working on the playground and contributing towards its successful realisation. The whole summer long the playground is filled with lots of children, and also by their parents and grandparents. People come from all over the place to enjoy a few hours in our playground. These efforts have made Krün more attractive. We have even had several nursery and play school groups visiting on outings to our playground.

Our example has given a lesson to several other municipalities. We are always being asked how we managed to achieve all this. It is being actively used in improving existing playgrounds. The one thing in particular that I really like is that it has had a really positive effect on the children and has lured them away from the television and the computer.

Another positive thing about our action is that the municipality and the district council both actively supported us. And not just with their annual membership subscriptions and taking on the TÜV costs, but also with the active assistance of the Mayor and district councils. Everyone benefits from this: the municipality can offer a playground, which it could not otherwise have afforded and the residents have a wonderful playground for their own children and visitors' children.

However, you must keep in mind that it is not simply the construction that turns a project like this into reality. A playground like this must be looked after and maintained. Whether we are talking about mowing the grass, repairing things or looking after the plants, you have to reckon a not inconsiderable expenditure in time and money. All this must be clarified at the outset with the commune, in order to ensure positive cooperation in the future. We have so far succeeded very well in this", says Anneliese Albrecht with conviction.


TM
Photos: Förderverein Spielplätze Krün e.V.
 

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