Parks board approves $11k in matching grants

The Keizer Parks Advisory Board approved two requests for matching grants at its October and November meetings. 

At the October meeting, board members considered a request from Jerry and Peggy Moore for the community garden that bears their names on Rickman Road North. The couple requested $1,050 to replace older raised bed framing and raise the height of all the garden beds in the space. 

“With a deeper bed, our gardeners can grow more root vegetables and things like corn that has deeper roots,” Peggy said. 

The grant paid for the lumber to get the project underway and the board approved it unanimously. 

“I think you’ve done your homework and you’ve done a lot at the gardens. I appreciate the effort to bring us quotes for the materials,” said Matt Lawyer, a member of the board. 

The Moores completed the project the week prior to the November meeting. 

At a meeting of the board Tuesday, Nov. 12, Jeff Davis requested a $10,000 matching grant for the second phase of his plan to install exercise stations at several parks throughout Keizer. Last summer, Davis led a successful effort to install workout stations at Country Glen Park and Claggett Creek Park. 

For the second phase, he plans to put additional equipment in place at Wallace House, Keizer Rapids and Meadows park. Davis already has additional financial backing from the Rotary Club of Keizer and the total value is estimated at more than $36,000 once the cost of equipment, foundation materials and labor is factored in.

Parks board members expressed some concern over dedicating $10,000 of its $15,000 annual budget to a single project. 

“Does that not seem like a large amount for a single project?” asked Clay Rushton, a recent addition to the board. 

“It is a large amount, but it’s not unusual,” responded David Louden, the board chair. Efforts to improve Keizer Little League Park have received multiple $10,000 grants from the parks board in the recent past. 

Rushton asked Davis if he could settle for $7,500. Davis responded that it would change the scope of the proposed work. 

“What you see in the proposal are hard costs, the majority of which go into production of the equipment and shipping to get it here,” Davis said. 

Dedicating the amount this early in the fiscal year – the fund won’t be replenished until next July – appeared to be a difficult pill to swallow, but the board approved it unanimously. 

“I’ve watched you come to this with a single idea and do all the work to make it a reality. Seeing that happen is really cool,” said Zaira Flores-Marin, a member of the board. 

The second request of the night came from one of the board members, Wayne Frey. 

Frey hoped to secure $1,891.50 to replace PVC pipe soccer goals and nets at Country Glen Park, but members of the board voiced concerns how often the goals were being used.

“I love the project concept, but we heard from you that there is little use [of the goals] at this complex. Is there another location where you think this might receive more use?” asked Lawyer. 

Frey originally paid to place PVC goals at the park, but one has broken and created a safety hazard. He would now like to replace the goals with aluminum goals on wheels and safety padding. The project is valued at nearly $3,800. 

He suggested that better equipment could lead to greater use. No one on the board could suggest a suitable city park with appropriate, flat, well-drained turf to support regular play. 

“Maybe we gamble a little bit, purchase the goals and we get the expected use. If that doesn’t work, we have the goals and we can find the right location,” Lawyer said. 

The motion to approve the grant died for lack of a second, but Lawyer said he wanted to work with Frey to bring some version of the project to fruition. 

The city’s parks advisory board holds a unique place among the city’s various committees and task forces. It is the only one of the bunch that controls how a portion of the city’s budget, the matching grant program, is spent.