By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Don’t even bother contacting Jane Lewis Holman and Steven Meyer next Thursday afternoon, Nov. 14.
The two designers from New York-based Leathers and Associates will spend the morning collecting ideas and drawings from thousands of Keizer elementary age-students, depicting what they would like to see in the community play structure set to be constructed in Keizer Rapids Park next fall. The project has become known as the Keizer Rapids Park Playground Project.
By the end of the morning, Holman and Meyer will be hard at work, incorporating the most popular ideas into a design for the project.
At 6 p.m., the two will present schematic drawings of their design in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center as part of a community celebration.
If every Keizer elementary student submitted a drawing, that would mean 3,200 depictions of what the play structure should look like. In other words, all of those ideas could go from drawings to a design in less than six hours.
That tight turnaround played a key role in Leathers and Associates being selected as consultant for the project. Marlene Quinn, chair of the Community Build Task Force and Richard Walsh, a task force member and chair of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, are both impressed with the speed.
“They have done this so many times,” Quinn said. “They’re so good about it. That’s why Richard and I are so in awe. How can they come up with a design after going through about 3,000 ideas? The key is they have done it so many times.”
Since 1971, the New York company – which is getting approximately $32,000 from the city to help with the project – has designed more than 3,000 playgrounds across all 50 states.
“It is mind blowing,” said Walsh, who saw a version of the process a few years back during the charette process for KRP. “I think it’s amazing. We have the confidence they will be able to do it. That’s the entire reason we went with a consultant. This is the leading group for this. If anyone can do it, they can.”
Kyle Cundy, a project manager who’s been with Leathers since 1992, said the important part is to give every elementary-aged student in Keizer a voice on the project.
“The more kids we can pull in, the more beneficial it is to the project,” she said. “Our goal is to make the design reflect the wants and needs of Keizer. The design will be a one-of-a-kind playground. It’s their idea of a playground, which will vary greatly from kid-to-kid. There will be all kinds of crazy, cool ideas.”
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