No matter how high inflation is, the entrance to ‘t Speulparadies in Beerta remains 1 euro. “And not a penny more. How long can we keep that up? As long as possible”, says chairman Erik Helweg.
A clearcut has taken place around ‘t Speulparadies in Beerta. There was a disease in the trees, mainly ash. That led to dangerous situations. But the board of ‘t Speulparadies makes a virtue of necessity. “We want to expand with camper pitches and realize hikers’ cabins.”
‘t Speulparadies calls itself ‘the nicest playground in East Groningen’. With approximately 35,000 visitors annually, it is a popular attraction among families and children. Erik Helweg is proud that the price of an entrance ticket is 1 euro. “And that for 22 years. If it’s up to me, it won’t cost you a penny. We want to remain attractive to large groups of people.”
For example, the price for a family card is 10 euros per year. For that amount you can visit ‘t Speulparadies throughout the season. “Even if your family consists of ten children.” That the playground is popular is evident from the number of family cards that have taken off enormously in recent years. “We went from 700 to 1700 families.”
The entrance fees can remain so low, because the board also operates the adjacent marina, which has thirty berths. Until 2031, the association leases the port from the municipality of Oldambt. “With that income we can also do fun things for the playground.”
In addition, there are forty camper pitches. “Usually full. Dutch, but also many Germans. This also applies to the berths in the marina anyway. We even have a waiting list of twenty boats for this. However, we cannot expand.
Playground gets a skate track
Additional parking spaces for campers can be constructed. Helweg is discussing this with the municipality of Oldambt. “The clearcut next to our playground offers us the opportunity to build new places there if necessary. We are also thinking about hikers’ cabins.”
But the most important thing is the playground. In order to remain attractive, investments are regularly made in new play equipment. Four new aircraft have been purchased for the new season. A merry-go-round, for example, and a swing has been replaced. A number of devices are being modernized. In addition, the youth is challenged to use a skate track and equipment for the adventure path has been brought into the house. “The municipality was upset about it. I intervened immediately.”
All in all, the new devices cost several tens of thousands of euros. But there is more fun. A new power line will be installed to guarantee a good power supply. The costs are approximately 100,000 euros. “A utility that is largely borne by the municipality.”