Of the Keizertimes

There was a definite difference in participation levels in recent meetings regarding Keizer Rapids Park amenities.

On two June nights, there were public hearings at Keizer Civic Center to see what amenities residents would like to see at KRP. The meetings are part of an ongoing series of such meetings being held in the summer and fall.

The Parks Board will have another public hearing on the issue July 8 in the McNary High School cafeteria and will then meet on Aug. 12 to develop a priority list of amenities. The placement of amenities will be discussed during the Sept. 11 WKNA meeting, with a design charette set for Sept. 20 at city hall.

Concept designs from the charette will be reviewed at the Oct. 14 Parks Board meeting, with a recommendation made to the Keizer City Council. The council will hold a hearing on the Parks Master Plan amendment at its Nov. 3 meeting.

At the June 10 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, exactly one person spoke. That was Mark Caillier, general coordinator of the Big Toy project, mainly talking about the procedure.

There was more participation on June 12 at a special West Keizer Neighborhood Association meeting, with 22 people showing up.

Rhonda Rich, president of the WKNA, had everyone fill out a worksheet regarding placement of the top 13 amenities, as well as an additional questionnaire. That information will be compiled and presented to the Parks Board on July 8.

Richard Walsh, a Parks Board member and former city councilor, explained the process at this month’s meeting in terms of figuring out amenities.

“Really, nothing is off the table,” said Walsh, encouraging those at the meeting to look at the long-term picture. “Ideas aren’t limited by time or money.”

Rich noted she broke KRP down into four areas: Area 1 (open field area south of the dike), Area 2 (filbert orchard), Area 3 (fairway area including the dog park and amphitheater) and Area 4 (the forested area to the west of the proposed expanded Urban Growth Boundary).

More than 20 amenities were listed and discussed. Participants were given 12 dots to put on each of their top 12 amenities.

The top amenity was connection to the river, with 18 votes. Picnic areas was close behind with 17 votes, followed by multi-use playfields with no organized sports (15 votes), play structure (14 votes and poles for osprey nests (14 votes).

Next on the list, with 12 votes each, were restrooms with water and flush toilets, fitness stations and a science center.

When Rich asked for an expansion of what connection to the river meant, Jerry Nuttbrock noted he has sternwheeler paddle wheels on his property that can be used as educational elements in a park display.