By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board met Tuesday, Oct. 11. These are some of the topics the board addressed:
• Board members put off a detailed discussion of instituting an adopt-a-park program intended to get local businesses involved in the city’s parks. City Councilor Amy Ryan suggested looking into such a program during the joint parks tour with both Keizer City Council members and parks board members participating.
The idea didn’t pass muster with board members who said they were more interested in a sustainable funding endeavor like the one being sought by adding a fee to utility bills.
“I think it’s an interesting alternative and worthy of discussion, but I would like to see the outcome of our process before moving forward with it,” said board member Matt Lawyer.
Board member JT Hager felt that an adopt-a-park program would work against the fee effort.
“If we get a stable fund going, we can look at what an adopt-a-park program could augment after that,” Hager said.
Board member Richard Walsh said that local businesses had already played a large role in funding the effort for The Big Toy and there were plenty of pre-existing ways for businesses to contribute to parks.
The board may take up the issue again in January.
• The board considered and tabled a $10,000 matching grant application by Keizer Little League to further fund rehabilitation efforts at Keizer Little League Park.
The final value of the improvements, which includes revitalized turf, new fencing, dugouts and more, is estimated north of $90,000, but the board wanted to see a more detailed list of projects to be completed before cutting the matching grant check.
The focus of the work will be on fields 7 and 8. Field 7 had been deemed unusable a couple of years ago and has already been retilled, re-leveled and replanted. Field 8, one of the shorter fields on the campus is being repurposed to serve as a softball field and lower-level baseball field.
Brad Arnsmeier, the fundraising and sponsorship leader for the KLL, reported that demand for the Keizer softball program is on the rise.
“KLL softball has grown to new heights because other leagues aren’t offering it,” Arnsmeier said.
Armsmeier said he would bring back a more detailed list at the board’s November meeting.
• The board requested more information from city staff on the possibility of seeking another Oregon Parks and Recreation Department grant to augment the $500,000 grant that will be used to build permanent restrooms at Keizer Rapids Park, established paved pathways to area neighborhoods and purchase a pour-in-place surface for The Big Toy. The deadline for applying for another grant would be in spring 2017.
Even before deciding to ask for more information, the issue caused some consternation among the board members who felt looking to expand amenities, at a time when the current ones cannot be maintained, would be in poor form.
• Keizer Parks Supervisor Robert Johnson presented a tentative timetable for the installation of new amenities at Keizer Rapids Park.
Winter 2016-2017: Removal of some trees from the hazelnut grove to accommodate the permanent restroom and paved pathways; bidding opens for the restroom construction; and installation of a power conduit to the restroom area.
Spring 2017: Connecting the water line from The Big Toy to the restroom area and construction of the restroom.
Summer 2017: Pathway construction and paving; removal of wood chips from The Big Toy; installation of the poured-in play surface.
Of all the tasks, removing the wood chips is likely to be the most labor-intensive, and require a small army of volunteers.
“If we can get 700 people with wheelbarrows to come out and move 10 loads each, we can get it done,” said Jim Taylor, board member.
• The Parks Advisory Board and Keizer City Council will have a joint meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, at 5:45 p.m. The topic will be outreach efforts regarding a survey asking Keizer residents about their parks priorities, if they would support a fee creating a dedicated parks fund, and what fee amount they would be willing to pay.