By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Plans to renovate the Carlson Skate Park at Chalmers Jones Park behind Keizer Civic Center are one step closer.
That doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed, however.
In November, Keizer’s Joe Bazan teamed up with the owners of Lincoln City-based Dreamland Skateparks and came to a Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting with a request for help in renovating the skate park, opened in July 1999 but maintained little since then.
The original request at the time was for $12,000 of the Parks Board’s matching grant program funding to help pay for the project. Then-chair Brandon Smith called for a decision to be postponed at the time.
In the time since that November meeting, Bazan has worked with former Parks Board member Jason Bruster to revise the request.
Thus, Bazan attended Tuesday’s Parks Board meeting and requested $5,000 in matching grant funds. That would be in addition to $25,000 Bazan hopes to raise in private cash or material donations, plus an estimated $2,800 in labor.
“We’re asking the Parks Board for $5,000,” Bazan said. “Jason Bruster explained it all to me how it would work.”
Parks Board member Richard Walsh wanted to make sure he understood the request.
“You’re asking, in summary, for $5,000,” Walsh said. “You’re representing that you will match with $25,000 in cash, materials and sponsorships. You’ll also have work value of $2,800. So Keizer citizens will receive a project worth $32,000.”
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said the work would need to be done before the city pays project leaders the $5,000.
“The project needs to be completed before reimbursement,” Lawyer said.
Marlene Quinn, the Keizer City Councilor who serves as the council liaison to the Parks Board, pointed to an added benefit of the project.
“Remember that the price includes maintenance,” Quinn said. “The whole cost to the city would be $5,000 for redoing the whole thing and maintenance. In the October submission, the lady helping them, Danyel Scott, said this price includes maintenance.”
Even if more is spent down the road for maintenance, Quinn felt it was a worthwhile use of funds.
“This is still a pretty cheap project to us,” she said.
Bazan noted the maintenance hasn’t been done since 1999, which means the facility is hard to use. Skateboarders and bicyclists alike use the facility.
“The skate park hasn’t been kept up for more than a decade, so it’s in rough shape,” Bazan said.
In his revised November proposal, Bazan wrote about why he started what he’s calling Project Lift.
“Since I was 15 I’ve been going to the Carlson Skate Park or, in my opinion, a poorly made death trap,” Bazan wrote. “I can appreciate that we have a skate park and this is where I learned how to skate, but the problem is that you can easily get hurt for the fact that it hasn’t been maintained correctly and wasn’t built right. The point I’m getting at is it’s time to fix the Carlson Skate Park and also make it challenging for those who go.”
Bazan wrote that there are “cracks forming everywhere” and added the skate park wasn’t built correctly.
“The majority of the park has no real transition, a lot of obstacles weren’t positioned correctly and they added pointless things,” he said.
Lawyer said he wanted to see more specifics about the proposal.
“I need to know what the plan is,” Lawyer said. “I want to know what additions and repairs are being proposed. I need to know details. I want to make sure that is clear.”
Bazan’s proposal calls for work to start in August, with an estimated completion date of August 2016.
“That is two budget cycles from now,” Lawyer said. “I don’t think it is insurmountable. We need to mark that money and carry it forward. It’s something we’ll have to work through.”
A motion to move forward and commit the $5,000 to the project was approved unanimously by Parks Board members.
Bazan said he’ll have Dreamland get the design to Lawyer.
“That was an easy $5,000 wasn’t it?” Lawyer told Bazan with a grin after the funding was approved.
Afterwards, Bazan expressed confidence the necessary funds can get raised.
“We’ve raised a little under $200 so far,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get more donations. I will try my hardest to do it. I’ve been seeing injuries (due to the current design). A lot of people don’t like the park now.”