By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
An early concern about The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park project resurfaced recently.
At the March 11 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, the issue of parking was brought up – especially if the Site 1 location between the amphitheater and the boat ramp is chosen.
Originally there was a concern about whether there would be enough room for adequate parking, but the concern hadn’t been mentioned in months.
Nate Brown, director of Community Development for the city, brought up the topic at the Parks Board meeting.
“I have concerns the current plan does not provide enough parking,” said Brown, who has been working on Urban Growth Boundary issues regarding a proposed second site along Chemawa Road. “The boat ramp parking is locked down; it’s not available to support other uses. The 21 stalls will not be enough parking for this development. I would ask you to consider this in your deliberations.”
Parks Board member Clint Holland noted boat ramp parking is often used for other uses.
“A lot of it is people who park there to go for a walk,” Holland said. “It’s used all the time. Probably 40 percent of the time it’s used for other stuff.”
Brown acknowledged that usage, especially in the winter.
“I’m just telling you it’s not viable to make a plan violating an agreement we made with other jurisdictions,” Brown said. “If this community build playground is as significant as we’re planning to make it, 20 parking spaces are not going to be enough to serve the playground…You can’t plan to put them in the boat ramp parking lot.”
Holland noted the nearby dike could have room for 10 to 15 additional cars, while also being a good place for handicap parking.
“There is more than enough room,” Holland said.
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, feels things will be tight.
“From my perspective, parking for the playground is adequate,” Lawyer said. “It’s not optimum. I’m not saying it’s enough, but I think it is adequate. I think it will function well while plans are put into place for more parking for other parts of the park.”
Brandon Smith, chair of the Parks Board, asked if there was a minimum number of spots required.
Lawyer responded that staff at Leathers and Associates, the project contractor, felt the space would be big enough, albeit not by much.
“There’s no requirement for any number of spaces per square foot at the play structure,” Lawyer said. “They believe it’s adequate. It’s not optimum. There’s no more physical room at the site (for parking). They came back with it’s adequate. I’m relying on their expertise.”