By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
A small gathering at last month’s Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting kicked off an extended public outreach process.
As mentioned recently in the Keizertimes, Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members last month approved a timeline calling for a series of pubic hearings in conjunction with amending the Keizer Parks Master Plan to incorporate property currently outside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) at Keizer Rapids Park (KRP).
The issue is tied in with the decision last month to delay construction of the Big Toy play structure at KRP from September to June 2015.
The first meeting for the public outreach was the May 15 GGNA meeting. Only 10 people attended the meeting due to a number of other activities taking place the same night.
While the group was small, GGNA vice president Mark Caillier – general coordinator of the Big Toy project and a former city councilor – was able to solicit a number of ideas from people about what to add at KRP.
“This meeting is about amenities for Keizer Rapids Park,” Caillier said. “A lot of this has to do with the Big Toy, inadvertently.”
Caillier showed an overview map of KRP but emphasized placement wasn’t the focus of the meeting.
“We’re not here to site things,” he said. “We’re looking at what amenities we may want to add. Put dots on the ones you want. If you have suggestions for additional amenities, this is the time to share.”
Some of the more popular suggested amenities, based on the number of dots gathered, included picnic structures, restrooms, drinking water, centralized parking and picnic areas.
“Bathrooms will be a huge priority,” resident John Morgan said. “It seems like the park is a hodgepodge of a bunch of little things. It doesn’t have a design to that. I’d be all for a concessionaire, like at Silver Falls State Park. This master plan is a 20-year thought process. We all recognize it’s a complete gem. But it is patchwork. We have a great list of amenities, but how do they blend together?”
The public outreach meetings will continue over the next few months. The Parks Board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. next Tuesday, June 10. Two nights later, the Parks Board will host a public forum for the West Keizer Neighborhood Association at 6 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Keizer Civic Center.
Youth and activity groups would then be invited to a hearing at the July 8 Parks Board meeting. On Aug. 12, Parks Board members will meet to develop a priority list for amenities based on the feedback gathered.
On Sept. 20, a design charette will be held to create concept designs. Those designs will be reviewed at the Oct. 14 Parks Board meeting, at which point a recommendation will be sent to the Keizer City Council. Councilors will hold a public hearing and make a decision on Nov. 3.