45 million euros for playing and physical activity

45 million euros for playing and physical activity

One project, 19 parks, 1,550 days of "alla hopp!" end up in the city of Mörlenbach. In September 2017, Mörlenbach celebrated the opening of its own alla hopp! play park which was the last one of a total of 19 parks that have been opened to the public in the metropolitan Rhine-Neckar region within the past 28 months. A little more than four years have passed since the alla hopp! project which was initiated by the Dietmar Hopp Foundation was announced. The result is clear: everyone involved comes to a positive conclusion.

The Dietmar Hopp Foundation has borne the full costs of all of the 19 alla hopp! parks amounting to a total value of 45 million euros. The municipalities which applied for the play and exercise facilities in the course of a tendering procedure are responsible for the maintenance of the facilities. The use of the devices is free of charge and suitable for all age groups. What counts is the fun of movement and of meeting other people. The respective spaces are provided by the municipalities.

On 13 June 2013, the "alla hopp!" project was presented to the public by the Dietmar Hopp Foundation itself in the Luisenpark in Mannheim. The municipalities were called upon to submit concepts and appropriate areas for cross-generational exercise and meeting places. According to the motto "now it's time to move" the purpose of the alla hopp! facilities was to bring young and old people together to practise sports and intercommunicate.

The project ended with the inauguration of the 19th Activity and Meeting Trail in the city centre of Mörlenbach. The parties involved not only looked proudly at the South Hessian community, but also at the other 18 alla hopp! parks. Jens Helmstädter, the Mayor of Mörlenbach, was as excited about the new attraction as his 18 colleagues of the other alla hopp! municipalities. This project is just a lot of fun. From planning to implementation there was an excellent mood, a maximum of communication and motivation and a lot of movement. We look very much forward to the moment when the fitness and meeting park will be opened to the public and used by people of all age groups: alla hopp!

We are very happy that apart from the Solar Draisine another movement and meeting highlight for people of all age groups will be available in Mörlenbach. The location of the alla hopp! facilities, which is in the heart of the city, near the sports centre, apartments for the elderly, schools and the town hall, could not be better. Our advantage was that the experience gained from the other 18 alla hopp! play parks could be taken into account when the concept for the Mörlenbach park was designed. So Mörlenbach benefits in many respects, says Katrin Tönshoff, Branch Manager of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation. We hope everybody in Mörlenbach will enjoy this new attraction. The feedback we receive on the other parks has exceeded all our expectations and we hope that the people of Mörlenbach will show the same enthusiasm.

Approximately 40 children were involved in the planning processes and helped to develop some specific facilities for Mörlenbach, which are unique in this form compared with the other alla hopp! parks. Thus, the existing pump room was converted into a play area designed by an artist in a very extraordinary way and the balancing beam with its "swinging landscape" attracted everybody’s attention right from the beginning.  While the coloured seats distributed over the whole trail as landscape art seem to attract the older visitors the younger ones are clearly more excited about the sliding hill with its tower and the membrane slides.

The concept of the Mörlenbach alla hopp! area was developed by Büro Landschaftsarchitektur Schelhorn (Office for Landscape Architecture) who used participatory processes enabling them to consider the wishes and design ideas of the citizens. "The neighbouring sports clubs have participated intensively at various stages phases and were able to convince themselves in the joint final inspection that their proposals had been taken into account ", says architect Dirk Schelhorn. "As a result, the alla hopp! facilities and the adjacent sports centre merge smoothly without border fences and have hence turned into an open and beautiful sports and movement park."

 

Conclusion

"127 applications were received. 19 municipalities were awarded a contract, four planning offices were involved in the concept and eight garden and landscaping as well as 191 construction companies were involved in the realisation and   implementation", says Sandra Zettel, the Project Manager of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation summarising the facts and figures of the past 1,600 days. Between Bürstadt in the North, Ilbesheim in the West, Rülzheim in the South and Ravenstein in the East, a total area of 215,990 square metres has been built up."

On 23 September, the parties involved had their last come – together in the town hall of Bürstadt, which is situated right in the centre of the alla hopp! park, to have a look at the result of their work of the past four years. " It was an extremely intense and exciting time", says Sandra Zettel, who had been in permanent contact with the architects and municipalities while coordinating the planning and construction phases. In addition, there were the participatory processes, the 19 ground-breaking ceremonies and, of course, the 19 inaugurations.

"The most important aspects which the commitment of my foundation is based on, such as sports and exercise, health promotion and social togetherness were brought together in the alla hopp! project", says the founder himself after this huge project had been completed. "I wish I had had something similar when I was young or when I was a young father. But at least I am now able to benefit from it together with my grandchildren ", smiles Dietmar Hopp. A play and fitness area for all generations.

"alla hopp! has been part of us and kept us busy throughout the past four years and while on the one hand we will be missing it, we are, on the other hand, grateful for the wonderful feedback from users of the whole region and far beyond", says Sandra Zettel.

"Apart from the fact that we have received much appreciation and positive feedback from the communities, because the parks are highly frequented and make the cityscape more attractive by providing an additional attraction, I was particularly pleased by a very special and unexpected result, emphasises Katrin Tönshoff, the Branch Manager of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation. "Although we did not expect it, we are especially pleased that the social aspect has already borne fruit", she went on. "In Ilbesheim, for example, an aid association has been founded, which will assume the maintenance of the park. Furthermore, in Schwarzbach and Mörlenbach there are some persons with disabilities who will organise the maintenance. In Ilvesheim, some blind persons have committed themselves to participating. Hence, we were able to offer a new approach of inclusion. These examples underline the social aspects and effects of this project."

In addition, the joint fund-raising campaign of the 19 benefitting municipalities also deserves special mention. "Each municipality has come up with something different to collect money for charitable purposes. That is how 9,552 euros were raised.", says Katrin Tönshoff.  Then she doubled the amount to 19,000 euros and handed the cheque over to Susanne Huber, the Chairperson of the Association Fortschritt St. Leon-Rot which enables persons with disabilities to undergo specific therapies.

"With the alla hopp! fitness park the city of Bürstadt has gained a unique sports and movement paradise which delights both young and old people. In future, many families and children will spend a lot of their spare time here. Apart from Bürstadt, two further cities of Hesse, Absteinbach and Mörlenbach, were awarded an alla hopp! park each, a fact which makes me - in my function as Sports Minister of Hesse - particularly proud and which is a wonderful piece of luck for these cities. It speaks for the sense of responsibility and the healthy entrepreneurial spirit of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation that it attaches such high importance to the public welfare, for which I would like to show this foundation my deepest gratitude", said Sports Minister Peter Beuth.

 

Photo: Dietmar Hopp Foundation

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