At far left is a medical imaging facility planned. At far right is a footprint of the Salem-Keizer Transit center. At top is a plan for a small park. The three other white shapes are footprints for possible future structures. (Photo Illustration by Andrew Jackson of the Keizertimes)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Plans for a two-story medical facility and a Salem-Keizer Transit station are set for review by Keizer’s planning commission and city council in September.

A master plan for Keizer Station’s Area B – which encompasses the area north of Lockhaven Drive, east of McLeod Lane, south of Dennis Ray Avenue and west of the Union Pacific railroad line – will be before the planning commission Sept. 8. [MAP: 1] Should it be recommended or otherwise passed forward by the commission – that board’s opinion is advisory only – the Keizer City Council would consider the matter on Sept. 20.

The doctor’s office has been reported to be an imaging facility run by Salem Radiology. The facility there would be two stories tall with a footprint of 13,269 square feet.

“They are in preliminary design,” said Sam Litke, the city’s senior planner. “They probably will start construction next year if all goes well.”

Also planned are a half-acre park and the Salem-Keizer Transit center. The transit building’s design has yet to be decided, but a preliminary estimate of 3,040 square feet was included in the master plan documents submitted to the city.

Plans include extending a wall currently in place along Keizer Station Boulevard to block existing homes along Dennis Ray Avenue from the development.

In addition, a small park is planned for the rear corner of the property. Litke said it would be primarily for stormwater detention, with a trail connecting the park to Dennis Ray Avenue and the transit station.

“With a transit component we assume people will want to walk to it,” Litke said.

As far as traffic, the complete plan would include a stop light on Keizer Station Boulevard at the transit center entrance and what Litke called a “de-celeration lane” on the north side of Lockhaven Drive headed west from Keizer Station.

Up to three additional buildings – including one possible restaurant pad – are included in the plan, but these won’t necessarily be built right away, Litke said.

Steve Dickey, director of transportation development for the transit district, said only about 1,200 feet would be necessary for the district’s needs – primarily a break room and restroom facilities for bus drivers.

“The rest will be for joint development – if the chamber and the city are interested in doing a joint development,” Dickey said. “… And if that were the case we would look to coordinate with them to possibly have a customer service presence as well.”

The transit district still has to purchase the 2.7 acre site, which sits between Keizer Station Boulevard and Lockhaven Drive. Dickey said the district plans to pay the city approximately $1.77 million for the property, per an appraisal obtained by the district. Rules associated with the federal and state monies appropriated to build the center require paying the appraised amount – no more, no less, Dickey said.

Since state and federal dollars will build the center, Dickey said, the current woes at Courthouse Square will not affect its construction. The transit district’s offices are in the building and must relocate due to structural deficiencies that have recently come to light.

As for operating funds, he said, the cost to actually maintain the transit center won’t be huge once built.

“Until we made a major change in our system design, it would be additional maintenance (like) picking up trash … that’s what our maintenance crews do now,” Dickey said. “So it would just be another stop on their route cleaning stops and shelters.”

The area’s master plan must be approved before the district obtains permits and does other work to prepare for construction. Dickey said not to expect site excavation to start until late spring or early summer “at the earliest.

“But we’re excited because it will bring not only our project to the area, but development for all of Area B that, I think, will have some real added benefits,” Dickey said. “I think it will be a good match.”