By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Regardless of where The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park ends up going, the site will need work done before the community build.
The play structure is set to be built Sept. 17 to 21, but prep work will need to be done prior to that.
The question which has come up, including at the most recent Community Build Task Force meeting, is just when that prep work would need to be started.
For months, Site 1 – or Area B, or the tree site – between the amphitheater and the boat ramp has been identified as the location. Since late January, however, a site in the orchards along Chemawa Road and Walsh Way has been championed by Mayor Lore Christopher.
In order for the site along Chemawa to be used, trees would have to be taken down. Then again, Site 1 would have to be leveled in order to be used.
“There has been a lot of discussion about resiting the play structure,” Carol Doerfler said at this month’s CBTF meeting. “My question is, what is your drop dead date for having to be on it?”
Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project, had a quick answer for when prep work would have to be started.
“July 1,” Caillier said. “If we’re moving trees, we have to be on it by July 1.”
Caillier touched on the topic again later in the meeting.
“I’m not all that concerned where the toy is going to be,” he said. “I’m more concerned about can we get there by July 1? We’re going to have to bring dirt in wherever we are. Area B will have to have fill as well.”
While a motion made by the Keizer Planning Commission last week (see related story, page 1) would seem to greatly impact the use of an orchard site, Caillier pointed to work that has to be done anywhere, with assistance from a crew assembled by Clint Holland.
“In talking with Clint and others, we came up with having to be on (Site 1) no later than August 1,” Caillier said. “That is the last day to get there. It would be nice to get on the site earlier. At either site you would have to have fill to make it grade, especially up above (by Chemawa). With the other site, as you go further south there is a slope. On the north end, there is a dike there. You can’t make it any steeper. We will need fill on the south end. We would take it down to an appropriate grade. We can do that in 30 days, based on Clint’s crew.”
Caillier said the orchard site would take an additional month of time to get ready.
“Using the orchard site requires the removal of trees, more soil to be brought in and compaction, more than the big tree site,” he said. “With that one, you still need to bring in dirt.”
At the orchard site, Caillier noted it’s more than just clearing enough space for the structure.
“You don’t just take trees out for the shape of the toy,” he said. “You also have to go 20 feet out around the edge. No matter what ground cover we choose, we don’t want a bunch of leaves falling into it.”
Taking out the trees could be done with either bulldozers or a machine with a hydraulic thumb, which Caillier said would be like a larger version of pulling a weed out of a garden.
“Using the machine is the least intrusive,” Caillier said. “With any tree removal, you try to get as much biomass out of the ground as possible.”
In essence, Caillier believes Holland and Co. will be ready once given the green light to move forward.
“We are prepared for either contingency,” Caillier said. “We have, in some detail, talked about either site and how we’d do it. We can get going on it either way, but I’d rather do it leisurely.”