Big ally for Big Toy

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes For a second time, leaders of the Big Toy project are gathering the pieces to apply for a large grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Now they may have found a big boost: the man who used to be in charge of the OPRD’s grant program is offering to help in any way needed. Marion County Commission Janet Carlson, a member of the Community Build Task Force, reached out to Wayne Rawlins recently. Rawlins attended Tuesday’s monthly CBTF meeting, where the main topic of conversation was what to put in the application for the OPRD’s Local Government Grant. In 2014, Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, applied for a $150,000 grant through the program on behalf of the project. That application was denied. Richard Walsh, a CBTF member, noted that denial was a big reason why the Big Toy play structure opened in June with engineered wood fiber ground covering instead of the highly desired poured-in-place rubber surface. “We could not reach our goal so we had to cut back,” Walsh said. “We cut out the spongy surface for $150,000. That was going to be for fall protection and because we have handicapped children and senior citizens that go out with their grandchildren. Those grandparents in wheelchairs are now left on the outside, quite literally. We had to take that...

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