In early November the Keizer Rapids Park boat ramp was officially open for public use. The ramp is the latest of many features constructed at the park, joining the dog park and the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre. The park is also home to a disc golf course.
The visionaries and officials who pushed and worked to make the park a reality are rightfully proud of what they brought forth. But, can we be done now?
Keizer Rapids Park is a regional gem that gets heavy use throughout the week, especially in summer. Though there are still many acres that could be used for some other amenities, we should take a breather on further additions. After all, the park was not supposed to be an amusement park.
Some want to see a recreation center eventually added to the park. That’s a bad idea. Nearby residents are already vocal about noise and congestion connected with park events, imagine the uproar if a rec center and an attendant parking lot were built.
The money that would be spent on a multi-use recreation center should be used on some of Keizer’s other 16 parks. The city-owned plot of land that sits on the north side of Volcanoes Stadium would be a good location for a future recreation center. The vision of a rec center is predicated on having the funds to build it.
There is currently more than $200,000 in the Parks System Development fund (that’s after paying Keizer’s share of the boat ramp). Some may look upon that balance like one would look upon mad money, but that would be wrong. A couple of projects could wipe that out leaving nothing for emergencies or opportunities.
We’ve spent public and private money on Keizer Rapids Park. Let’s call it good for now. There is money in the Parks SDC fund but we should use that sparingly, ask private groups to match a grant from that fund for desired expenditures at other Keizer parks. The West Keizer Neighborhood Association and the Keizer Parks Foundation having been holding fund raisers for a playground structure.
Keizer Rapids is a wonderful addition to the city’s parks. It’s our own Central Park. It has been the focus of our park attention for years; it’s time to tend to Keizer’s other parks.