Why does Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg charge for exercise in parks

Commercial offers in green spaces

Why does Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg charge for exercise in parks

Wednesday 05/22/11 | 6:19 PM | to Stephen Oberalini


Video: rbb | 24 | 05/11/2022 | Thomas Rosstick and Stefan Oberwallini | picture: rbb

Anyone who wants to earn money with sports courses in the green spaces of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg will be required to pay. A lawsuit from a commercial provider made this necessary. Until now, the Berlin region has been self-contained. Written by Stefan Oberualini

The sun is shining, and temperatures are still relatively high in the early evening. Coach Lydia works across the Bosepark in Tempelhof Schoenberg with her women’s group. Later there are yoga exercises in a large meadow. Participants are sweating as part of the free “Sports in the Lawn” program sponsored by the Berlin Senate.

Basically a crime

Six kilometers away, in Tiergarten, eight people hungry for training gathered around trainer Marcus Webber to participate in his fitness course. Weber is a commercial provider, all participants pay a participation fee. The atmosphere is relaxed and people are sweating here too.

Since Webber performs in a public green area, he is essentially committing an administrative offense. Because commercial use is prohibited by Berlin’s law on green spaces and can be punished with a fine of up to 5,000 euros. The law works to preserve and protect green spaces.

Green spaces must be preserved and protected

The district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is now taking a new approach. Here the user fee for commercial sports bidders are presented in the green, such as “Berliner Morgenpost” [Bezahlinhalt] first mentioned.

Sarah Loman, a spokeswoman for the district, says the lawsuit from a trading company made it necessary to “regulate this private use now and not reject it outright.” With the lump sum, one explicitly wants to “give providers the opportunity to apply for use”. This should happen according to the so-called first-line principle, i.e. there is a certain ability and whoever reports first gets the job.

To what extent will green areas be maintained and protected by charging usage fees for commercial sports facilities as non-commercial sports groups in the same park remain unanswered.

Coach Marcus Webber knows conflicts of interest and knows the legal situation. That’s why he has repeatedly sought discussions with the provinces in the past in order to find a solution for himself, he said. In vain, because there is simply no desire to talk. “We asked if we could go up to a football field at 7 in the morning since no one was really there, and that was flatly refused,” Webber says.

He gave his first courses in Tempelhofer Feld, where, as is known, a lot of sports are practiced and there is also a barbecue area. It wasn’t long before he was fired, he says. Here, too, the region was not interested in dialogue.

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg spokeswoman Sarah Lohmann talks about commercial sports in green spaces and parks (Source: RBB)Friedrichshain Kreuzberg spokeswoman, Sarah Lohmann

Ranging from 150 to 1500 euros per season

Anyway, he thinks Friedrichshain-Kreuzberger’s progress is a good thing, he says. Weber says there is at least a basis for discussion. It now depends on how high the fees are and whether his sports offerings are still profitable.

The district office indicates a staggered usage fee, depending on frequency and number of show participants. For example, district spokeswoman Le Mans calculates that the special usage fee for a course that takes place three times a week with nine participants will be 700 euros per season. “Depending on whether I have more shows or fewer, or more or fewer participants, it can be cheaper or more expensive.” The range starts from 150€ and goes up to 1500€.

Until now, it has been nearly impossible for regulatory authorities to determine which athletes meet privately in parks and who participate in a trade show. If in doubt, they simply say that they will meet with friends and that law enforcement officers are abroad.

Many offers from commercial online sports providers can be found with just a few clicks. Counties can also collect information here, but it is difficult to prove commercial use, Spandau city councilor Thorsten Schatz of “Berliner Morgenpost” said, as the department is not allowed to search online without reason.

Fitness coach Markus Weber fears for his gym facilities in Berlin's parks and green spaces (Source: RBB)
Fitness trainer Marcus Webber | picture: rbb

So far, other provinces have not followed suit

It remains to be seen if other Berlin regions will also introduce special usage fees such as Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. So far, when asked by rbb, most of them have unanimously indicated that commercial displays in green spaces are generally undesirable. Reinkendorf only replied that they saw the need to pay a fee, but left it open to see if they would charge a fee.

Coach Marcus Webber feels reminded of parking lot management, he says. He doesn’t think Friedrichshain-Kreuzberger will go it alone for long. “One starts, the others follow.”

In any case, he says, he now has to calculate very carefully whether his sporting offerings in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg region are still worthwhile at all. If not, he can do without shows only in the region. But if at some point other counties follow suit, “the entire outdoor sports area will be wiped out.”

Broadcast: Evening Show rbb24, May 11, 2022, 7:30 pm

Contribution by Stefan Oberwallini

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