By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

A battalion of more than 200 volunteers pulled off a minor miracle Saturday, Sept. 9.

Led by members from 12 congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the group cleared wood chips from about 90 percent of the Big Toy in Keizer Rapids Park. The chips are being cleared and the play structure is closed for the next several weeks while a pour-in-place surface is installed.

“I don’t think that the city or parks board had any clue that we could get that many people out there,” said Dan Kohler, director of public affairs for the LDS church in this area. “We were thrilled, we had people from the church and people from the community working side-by-side.”

Kohler said the group had plenty of people and good organization, but loaner tools – two track hoes and a loader – from Doug’s Dirt Works made all the difference.

“He pulled them off other jobs and we probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without them,” Kohler said.

City staff finished off the job Tuesday, Sept. 12. The Big Toy is expected to remain closed at least through Oct. 16 while the new surface is installed.

More than 600 cubic yards of wood chips were poured into the site in 2015. Usable portions of what was removed from the Big Toy are being stored at the park and used to replace wood chips around other Keizer park play structures.