Discussion of fences to protect sports facilities

Bonn. The city wants to protect sports facilities from vandalism by putting fences around them. But high costs make it more likely that each case would be decided on an individual basis.

02.02.2018

According to the wishes of the city administration, clubs should be responsible for the care of their sports fields outside of the daily use period of 8am to 10pm.  The topic came up following the experience with the artificial turf at Josefshöhe in Auerberg.  The new sports facility was put there last June at a cost of 1.5 million euros, and by the time the site was officially opened in October, there was already graffiti and broken glass.  "People camped there and even barbecued," says Michael Pieck, spokesman for the Bonn SC, a club which uses this facility as well as others. 

The sports club is pleading for a high fence to protect the city property.  As well, it has often been difficult in the past to expel other users from the field when it is suppose to be in use for club teams who have training. To regulate the use of the field and keep it available for other people is no problem, according to Pieck. "We have enough volunteers for that." 

In recent years, the city has transformed most of the sports fields into artificial turf.  15 sports facilities have already been converted to the new turf and five are under construction.  Four more are expected to follow by the end of the year - a total investment well into the double-digit range.  Ideally, the longevity of the artificial surfaces runs from twelve to fifteen years. 

Vandalism at the sports facilities

Several cases of damage have been reported to the sports administration in recent months, according to Andrea Schulte from the press office in response to a GA inquiry. Apart from the grounds at Josefshöhe, facilities in Ippendorf and Friesdorf were also affected. In addition to graffiti and broken glass, benches were also damaged.

"We will not be able to agree with this proposal in the Sports Committee," said committee chairman Christos Katzidis (CDU).  The reason given was that the administration had not been specific enough about the actual problems that occurred, nor did it provide comment on the costs of fencing. Instead, the committee feels the city council is seeking out a blank check in the 2019/2020 budget.

80,000 euros to fence off a field

But politicians from the CDU, SPD and the Greens have understanding for the need for fencing. All three advocate solutions on an individual case basis. For building a fence around a single artificial turf, the city administration expects costs would run around 80,000 euros, based on experience from other municipalities.  

A complete solution for 24 artificial pitches would cost around two million euros. However, the administration stepped back from a comprehensive plan, saying it was only a procedural proposal.  District representatives should decide on a case-by-case basis. (Orig. text: Martin Wein, Translation: ck)

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