“Beginning in May the Tempelhof field will be open to all,” Berlin's urban development Senator Ingeborg Junge-Reyer said.
With an area of 230 hectares, the airfield park that straddles both the Kreuzberg and Neukölln districts will be significantly larger than Berlin’s famous Tiergarten park.
As of Tuesday, Berlin will be sole owner of the park after purchasing the federal government’s share for €35 million, Junge-Reyer said. The city plans to spend a further €60 million over the next seven years to develop the open space. Another €1.6 million per year will go to park maintenance and security.
Once the new park opens, the six-kilometre fence surrounding the former airfield will remain and authorities will close five entrance points each night.
Tempelhof, built in 1923, operated until October 2008 when dwindling passenger numbers led to the closure of the facility. It is most famous as the West Berlin airport where Allied pilots continuously brought supplies into the city in 1948-49 as the Soviets tried to starve the city into submission during the Berlin Airlift.
The 1936 Nazi-era terminal – which is more than one kilometre in length – will continue to be rented out for cultural exhibitions such as the fashion expo Bread & Butter.