Plenty of dirt and bark was laid for the surface of the Big Toy last June, but project leaders are hoping for a new surface. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

Plenty of dirt and bark was laid for the surface of the Big Toy last June, but project leaders are hoping for a new surface. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Let’s run those numbers again.

That was what city leaders working on a grant application for the Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park had to do.

At the January Community Build Task Force meeting, committee members approved plans for how much local funding would be used and how much grant money would be asked for from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Local Government Grant.

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, is completing the grant with assistance from Jackie Franke. Brown and Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, went over the numbers at the January meeting. After CBTF members approved a motion, it was believed that was the last time the task force would have to meet.

However, while reviewing the numbers with Brown after that meeting, a Keizertimes reporter noticed numbers didn’t appear to be adding up. Brown realized there were indeed errors and encouraged another CBTF meeting.

Such a meeting took place Tuesday night, with updated and correct numbers.

Mostly.

The purchase of land at KRP can be used as part of the local match for the grant application. In the paperwork CBTF members had in front of them, the entire 28 acres was listed, worth $1,355,600. That wasn’t the correct number. Brown read off numbers from the corrected sheet using 10.47 acres, worth $506,800.

Once CBTF members had the updated information, a motion was made and unanimously approved to apply for a $456,800 grant for the second phase of the Big Toy project, with work to include a new poured-in-place surface, a pathway to the play structure, permanent restrooms and grab bars for disabled users to hold onto.

Total project costs are estimated to be $1,013,600. Brown and Franke have had multiple meetings with Wayne Rawlins, the former OPRD grant program director who said the requested grant amount should be less than 50 percent of the total project cost. The figures show the grant request is 45 percent of the total project cost.

The city will be using the $506,800 in land acquisition costs to cover most of the match, plus $50,000 in new Systems Development Charges (SDC) funds for a total match of $556,800. The request now goes to the Keizer City Council for approval. CBTF chair Marlene Parsons and Brandon Smith are both on the council.

Making the Big Toy more accessible for people – youth and seniors alike – has been an emphasis with the second phase of the project. Replacing the bark ground covering with a smoother poured-in-place surface is a key component to that. The pathway would be another part and would also make it easier for neighbors of all abilities to access the park. Installing new permanent restrooms would make KRP the first of Keizer’s 19 parks to have such facilities.

Estimates show the restrooms would cost about $223,000 including the buildings, septic system and power. The new poured-in-place surface would cost about $200,000, with the bulk of that being $184,800 for 12,000 square feet of the surface at $15.40 a square foot. The pathway part of the project would be about $83,000. Another $1,200 is being allotted for grab bars.

Franke and Brown said the hope is to have the grant application written by mid-March, allowing time for CBTF members Richard Walsh and Janet Carlson to review it before the April 1 deadline. Letters of support are currently being sought.

“We’re not meeting again as a task force unless something comes up,” Parsons said. “Once we get this past the council and when Janet and Richard approve, I don’t think we need to approve it, do we?”

Brown said that depended on what the council decides.

“Our efforts are going to be focused on getting the letters in,” Brown said.