350 animals? Is he serious? "We have too few gardeners, so we fall back on the sheep," explains Stephan Heldmann, head of the green space office. Then he laughs. But he says the proposal is serious. Heldmann stands with some politicians of the CDU. The grass of the old racecourse Sachsenhausen reaches up to him up to the shoulder. During the many years of conflict over the use of the area, nature has had plenty of time to occupy the site.
The sheep are for the piece on which once the nine-acre citizen public park is to emerge. Officially, the official name is "Bürgerpark Süd". During workshops and an online survey, citizens were able to express their ideas. However, there are no finished plans for the park. It is only next year that work begins.
15 hectares of land
At a few hundred meters, the grass grows very little, but the soil is sand and gravel. It is here that the new DFB academy is developing, costing 150 million euros, in which the administration of the German Football Federation is welcomed and where players, coaches and referees must be trained . More than 500 employees are expected to work there. National teams should then prepare for it.
Since the inauguration ceremony in May, many things have happened. On the site of about 15 acres, huge ditches are dug, through grates and steel pipes.
Beside the mountains of sand are cranes and excavators. In a pumping facility, the water table is gurgling, which is again compressed elsewhere in the soil. Only the entrance gate of the old racecourse has remained as it is a listed building.
Silicon Valley of German Football
Dusty roads still lead to the site where, in two and a half years, a complex comprising artificial and natural turf pitches, a football field, teaching rooms, a media center, administrative buildings and players' accommodation. must remain. "The construction work is proceeding as planned, in terms of time and budget," says project manager Winfried Naß. "I think the whole city is happy that this can finally begin," said Sports MP Markus Frank, who accompanied the CDU faction's site visit. "This Silicon Valley of German football has the same political importance as the European Central Bank for the Frankfurt financial center."
For a long time it was unclear whether the DFB Academy would even be built on the former racetrack. The dispute between the city and friends of the circuit lasted for years. Finally, in September 2017, the Federal Court rejected the objections of the association: This paved the way.
The spokesman of the CDU's parliamentary group on the environment, Robert Lange, speaks of an "infinite history felt". The construction of the Bürgerpark and the DFB Academy is all the more pleasing. "Children from small and large cities are introduced to nature, and a football skills center is created for professionals in the first and second divisions." The cornerstone of Academy must be asked on September 26th. Alongside the Bürgerpark Süd, the DFB academy is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Next, the grass will cover the ground again. Mowing will no longer require sheep.