KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A big toy at a west Keizer park is long past its prime, and a local neighborhood association is seeking to replace it.

The West Keizer Neighborhood Association is looking to replace the older big toy at Willamette Manor Park with shiny, modern play equipment by spring 2013, but needs the public’s help.

The big toy has seen better days: There used to be a slide, but it was broken and subsequently removed. Some of the other components are warped.

Ken LeDuc, vice president of the WKNA, said the association seeks partnerships with the city, the nonprofit Keizer Parks Foundation, neighbors and any other interested groups to add not only a safe, clean recreational outlet for children, but to use it to revitalize the park itself.

LeDuc pointed out the park was an original host to the parks foundation’s Wild Wild Rec summer play program, but was moved due to lack of attendance.

“If there’s not a big toy, the gradeschoolers are not going to hang,” he said. The structure itself costs about $25,000, and with labor and other costs the association plans to raise about $50,000. Step 1 is gauging interest from the surrounding neighborhood.

City staff and the parks advisory board are being kept in the loop. LeDuc added he wants to improve access to the park for adults and children with disabilities.

Want to help? You can attend WKNA meetings (they’re listed in our calendar), contact the city of Keizer, or donate via a check to the Keizer Parks Foundation, P.O. Box 20373, Keizer OR 97307 with a letter attached directing the donation to the Willamette Manor Park Play structure.

LeDuc said the initiative is part of the association’s effort to focus on improving parks throughout their coverage area, which extends south from Chemawa Road N. and west of River Road N. to the city limits.