City committees eye budget allocations

With the City of Keizer’s budget season on the horizon, two city committees are considering what projects to throw their weight behind. 

The topic arose twice last week in meetings of the Keizer Parks Advisory Board and Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee. 

At the Parks Board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, budget matters were brought up in relation to a proposal by Board Member Matt Lawyer. 

Lawyer said he was inspired by the recent work of a Keizer resident to begin installing fitness equipment in Keizer parks and with the help of a matching grant offered through the parks board. 

Lawyer wants the board to discuss the possibility of establishing another matching grant program, this time aimed at youth projects. 

“We have a lot of youth looking for projects to do for school or scout credit. If they come in and make the ask to install a bench or do clean-up work, we would have a parks board member or city councilor mentor them through the completion of the project,” Lawyer said. 

Lawyer suggested starting with an allocation of $2,000 to gauge interest. The board plans to discuss the proposal at length during its March meeting in preparation for budget meetings that kick off in April.

At the Traffic Safety Committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 14, members voted to recommend three projects for funding. 

The highest priority seemed to be installation of a sidewalk and bike lane along Delight Street North between the end of the Cummings Elementary School campus and Chemawa Road North. 

City officials and committee members hoped to score a grant from Oregon Safe Routes to Schools, but the project did not make the cut earlier this year. 

Next was a pet project of committee member David Dempster: finishing a sidewalk and bike lane on Keizer Road Northeast between Allendale Way Northeast and Verda Lane Northeast. The missing segment forces riders and pedestrians into the street from a densely-populated segment of the city – including an elementary school – when trying to reach the city’s core by foot or bike. 

The last project on the committee’s priority list was restoring a bike lane on Ridge Drive Northeast along the entrance to Keizer Little League Park. Over time, gravel from the KLL main parking lot has chewed up the bike lane and reduced its size, Dempster said.