By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Next month a design charette will take place to look at long-term options for Keizer Rapids Park.
The date for that meeting, however, has been moved.
The charette is part of an ongoing effort to figure out what Keizer residents would like to see down the road for 28 additional acres of the park. The process started earlier this year when the idea of moving the Big Toy playground project was proposed by Mayor Lore Christopher. That, in turn, led to an effort to expand the Urban Growth Boundary. Such expansion would mean additional land to bring into the park master plan.
Meetings have been held this spring and summer to solicit feedback from citizens and sports organizations about what amenities they would like to see in the park.
With input gathered, members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday came up with a list of top ideas, to be presented at next month’s charette.
For months, the charette had been listed for Sept. 20, though no exact time was decided.
Now an exact time – and new day – have been decided.
As board members started discussing timing, Public Works director Bill Lawyer made a suggestion.
“We really need to revisit the date,” Lawyer said. “Servefest takes up the whole (Keizer Civic Center) on September 20. My suggestion is to delay one week to September 27. That keeps us pretty much on schedule. If we want to maintain September 20, we need to find another facility. Servefest is too big to hold the meeting here. We would need to have at least one large meeting room.”
Lawyer noted the charette done several years to establish KRP lasted four hours.
“But it was brand new, with six different proposals,” said Parks Board member Richard Walsh, a key figure in the park’s formation. “The general public did it, with 100 people at tables. This one, I thought, would be representative groups.”
That will indeed be the case. Parks Board members came up with a list of representatives to invite, coming up with about 30 names. As such, chair Brandon Smith said four hours shouldn’t be necessary.
“I was thinking two hours,” Smith said. “How does 10 a.m. to noon sound?”
Others agreed and the time was set. The rest of the original timeline remains the same. Concept designs will be created at the charette and reviewed at the Oct. 14 Parks Board meeting. A recommendation will be made at that meeting and forwarded to the Keizer City Council. Councilors will hold a public hearing and make a decision on Nov. 3.
The related part of Tuesday’s meeting was sorting through input gathered at recent meetings about what amenities should be considered. Only the West Keizer Neighborhood Association and Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meetings on the topic had much feedback.
John Morgan, who attended the May GGNA meeting when amenities were discussed, used a white board on Tuesday to write down what amenities will be proposed at next month’s charette.
“The Parks Board is aware this is a dream, but it has to be a pragmatic dream,” Morgan said. “It’s not going to all be done at once. I would anticipate probably a 10-year buildout of a park. Now you take the lead to make this amazing facility even better. My role is to help you in facilitating a list of amenities, for a proposal to lay out to the community.”
One amenity debated was a plan brought up last month to have an indoor sports facility at KRP. Walsh noted the idea jived with past ideas.
“We had a Keizer Compass visioning plan, which talked about Keizer being a tournament town,” he said. “The Something Special Task Force came out with a recommendation to put some money into here to build the community center and the other half into an indoor sports facility. They needed additional land for sports fields around it. That went forward. That is where we got the money from to buy the 28 acres that we are now planning.”
Parks Board members had Morgan write down the indoor sports facility, the Big Toy, multi-use outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, an educational facility, toilets, a covered shelter, a drinking fountain and a hard surface sports court.
William Criteser disagreed with the idea of having an indoor facility.
“I don’t feel indoor facilities should be there,” he said. “That’s not the place for it. Use land up by Keizer Station.”
Walsh argued there is much more room for such a facility at KRP as opposed to the city-owned five acres by Volcanoes Stadium. In addition, code requirements on that land “would jack the price way up,” he added.
“Having the indoor facility makes everything at Keizer Rapids Park multi-season,” Walsh said. “When the rain hits, you can move events from other parts of the park indoors. It makes everything work.”