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Second Strassenkicker Court opens at Cologne community sports facility project

An opening ceremony has been held for the second Strassenkicker Court at the Langobardenplatz Gremberghoven community sports facility project in Cologne, Germany.

The Langobardenplatz Gremberghoven project, run by the Lukas Podolski Foundation and RheinFlanke (youth and refugee work through sport), started at the end of 2014 with the LP2014 fundraising campaign.

The collective aim was not only to renovate the existing youth center of RheinFlanke in the Gremberghoven neighborhood of Cologne, but also to create a modern, functional sports facility for children and young people at Langobardenplatz.

The background to this scheme was the high demand for youth welfare services in the Gremberghoven district, where a new youth center combined with a sports ground is an ideal way to provide facilities to cater for specific groups.

The sports ground has now been completed thanks to the support of numerous partners – most notably Vonovia SE and the city of Cologne – and comprises a synthetic turf mini-pitch and a multipurpose pitch suitable for soccer, basketball and volleyball, among other sports. It is also directly adjacent to a new youth center, which has been built from converted and extended maritime containers.

The project came in on budget thanks, among other things, to the help of project partners – Polytan also contributed to the project with an attractive offer and by dispensing with the usual margins.

The sports ground and youth center – the Grembox – were officially inaugurated on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, with the staging of an opening match featuring (among others) the mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, and FIFA World Cup winner Lukas Podolski.

The mini-pitch and the multipurpose pitch both come from Polytan and are part of the third Strassenkicker Court project, for which the Burgheim-based sports surface specialist received a construction contract from the Lukas Podolski Foundation. The two other projects are located in Cologne-Bocklemünd (one mini pitch) and at Holzmarkt in the Altstadt-Süd district of Cologne (two multipurpose pitches and one mini-pitch).

Children and young people from the Cologne-Gremberghoven district will be able to play sport on a 15 x 20m synthetic turf pitch and a 20 x 30m multipurpose playing field in the newly opened Langobardenplatz facility.

Matches will be held on a LigaGrass Pro CoolPlus pitch, an optimally cushioned and robust synthetic turf system filled with sand to make it as easy as possible to maintain. The surface chosen for the multipurpose pitch was the water-permeable, hardwearing PolyPlay S all-rounder, which is nonslip, in spite of its smooth surface, and can be used all year round.

Although German soccer player Lukas Podolski kept himself informed about the progress of the build and stopped by in person twice during the construction phase, he did not see the end result until it opened.

“The sports ground and the youth center have turned out just great – modern and professional, but still a proper soccer pitch like it was in my day,” said Podolski.

“This was exactly what I aimed for from the start: to give children and young people, some of whom live in difficult circumstances, the opportunity to play sport for free at a high-quality facility.

“And of course, the whole thing’s in my city, Cologne, where it’s really important to me to give something back and express my sense of belonging.”

July 5, 2017

Written by Matt Ross


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