By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Construction of the Big Toy play structure at Keizer Rapids Park is still 11 months away.
However, project officials are doing their best to keep the project in the public eye.
For example, there will be a booth at this week’s Marion County Fair with information about the project. The fair started Thursday in Salem and continues through Sunday.
A similar booth will be set up at the Aug. 9 RIVERfair, being held at KRP.
While that is going on, a new website for the project continues to be worked on.
During the July 1 Community Build Task Force meeting, Big Toy general coordinator Mark Caillier noted a lack of response to his e-mail asking for volunteers during the fair.
“We will still have a presence,” Caillier said. “We will have banners, pickets and volunteer sign-ups. We’ll have all the stuff there. This is a chance to be in touch with 30,000 folks and to let them see what the Big Toy is all about.”
Richard Walsh, co-chair of the fundraising committee, didn’t recall seeing the e-mail asking for volunteers but was eager to help out.
“Let me know which times are needed,” Walsh said. “I don’t mind the higher traffic times. I actually prefer it.”
Marlene Quinn, chair of the task force, noted a booth will be at RIVERfair next month.
“I have a table but will need a couple more,” she said. “I’ll need the banners and the same stuff that’s going to be at the fair. I’ll need volunteers for that day also.”
Meanwhile, Valeria Moore continues to make changes to a Big Toy website expected to go live soon.
“I did a redesign of the website,” Moore said while scrolling through various pages for task force members. “It looks very different, but it’s easier now for me to make the changes. On the front page, there’s a way to donate to the Big Toy.”
Caillier noted the project using System Development Charges (SDC) from Keizer seems to be hampering fundraising, so a way of showing matched donations could be added.
“What I’m hearing from a lot of people is since you have SDCs, we don’t need to give money,” Caillier said. “It is hurting us. But the SDCs or grants are just matches.”
County Commissioner Janet Carlson, co-chair of the fundraising committee with Walsh, said information about donating to the project should be high up on the website.
“A lot of people don’t scroll,” she said. “I want more in the first section.”
Several task force members suggested a number of changes, leading to frustration for Moore, who noted she is swamped with other projects.
“I did a ton of work based on what was said last time,” she said. “Now I’m being told something totally different. You need to put in writing exactly what you need. That form took me a lot of time to do. If that needs to be changed, someone needs to do it.”
Walsh acknowledged the amount of changes being discussed.
“My apologies for any wasted work,” he said.
Carlson said details being discussed were final ones.
“It is a beautiful website,” she said. “We’re just doing some fine tuning now.”
“This is wonderful, fantastic,” he told Moore. “We couldn’t have done this without you.”