file photo

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Civic Center could be getting a catering kitchen, largely thanks to Keizer Rotary.

A brouhaha over a city proposal to spend more than $600,000 to add on to the year-old building quickly resulted in the project being scuttled. But there was space built for a smaller kitchen, and some appliances have already been purchased.

Councilors liked the idea at a work session held Monday, June 14, but the financial outlay would have to be approved by the Keizer Urban Renewal Board, which is comprised of the mayor and city councilors.
Where Keizer Rotary members would step in is for labor. Where the urban renewal fund contributes is materials. All in all the proposed cost is about $5,650.

It would require no new construction. [MAP: 3]

City Manager Chris Eppley said the kitchen would either prove adequate for user needs “or it will give empirical data to the concept of, ‘Let’s explore something larger.’”

Already purchased items include a partially-installed range hood, a six-burner range with grill, a range hood fire suppression system, a dishwasher, two microwaves and cabinets.

Needed to be purchased would be a sink, countertops, a complete fire suppression system and a residential refrigerator. Also needed would be basic electrical supplies along with paint and the appropriate permits.

“All this is high-end residential equipment,” said Mark Caillier, a city councilor and Rotarian.

The Keizer Rotary Foundation earlier pledged $100,000 for the civic center, not including the kitchen project.

Dave Bauer of Keizer Rotary – which holds its weekly luncheon at the civic center – detailed one of the difficulties civic center users have faced while holding an event there.

“Just to put water in the chafing dishes you have to go to the ladies room or the men’s room,” Bauer said. “The most important thing that needs to be there is water and counter space … It would be so much better if all we had was water, ice and just a place to put the ice.”

Clint Holland, another Rotarian, explained the rationale.

“One thing is there’s been a lot of controversy on it,” Holland said. “It’s been in the paper a lot. A lot of the equipment is sitting there already, and Mr. Bauer – who brought this to our attention – thought it would be an important project for us to do because we also have our meetings there every Thursday, and other people would be able to use that kitchen area.

“We have the ability, sometimes, to come up with the volunteers to make that happen.”

While an icemaker isn’t included in the proposal, Assistant to the City Manager Kevin Watson said it’s possible they’ll look for a used one.

“We will not be purchasing a new icemaker,” Watson said.

There would be options to place the kitchen elsewhere than it was originally designed for the civic center, but it would require significant work to the building’s plumbing, Eppley said.