Don’t forget trapeze bars

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An artist's rendition of The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park, which will be built by community members in September. (Submitted)

An artist’s rendition of The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park, which will be built by community members in September. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

First you thought the site selection was done for the community build play structure.

But it wasn’t.

During last week’s Community Build Task Force (CBTF) meeting, it was discovered something else wasn’t done: the design.

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park project, discovered the problem recently.

“Our design is not approved yet,” Caillier said. “I thought it was, but it wasn’t. Things got dropped.”

Caillier said the latest playground schematic from project consultant Leathers and Associates showed some items in a different place than originally discussed, such as the location of the dueling fire engines.

“This doesn’t have what was on it in December,” Caillier said. “I don’t know how it changed.”

As such, Caillier figured he would bring the issue up to the task force to see if anything had somehow gotten moved by mistake.

“I want to look at what else is missing,” he said. “Another thing, I couldn’t find the Ford F-100 truck. It’s there, but in a different location.”

Marlene Quinn, co-chair of the CBTF, said closing off the entrance to the tot lot from the parking lot wasn’t reflected yet in the drawings.

“There are also two spring horses that are supposed to be there,” Quinn said.

Fellow co-chair Richard Walsh noted there should be one entrance, no matter which of the two current sites is selected.

“I want a design that works regardless of location,” Walsh said.

Meredith Coy said two ways in and out would be fine.

“As a parent with three kids, it doesn’t bother me having two exits,” Coy said. “I’m going to have to keep an eye on my kids at any playground. With other playgrounds there are no set entrances and (the kids) are wild.”

Coy noted she didn’t see the trapeze bars on the drawing, while Quinn noted the Warren log cabin needed to be the Wallace House.

Caillier made a motion to add two trapeze bars, change the tot lot entrance, move two spring toys, change the log cabin, confirm the fire station façade and have two fire trucks in opposite directions with a misting station in between. The motion was approved unanimously.

While the missing or moved items were a new issue, the controversy over the play structure site selection has been an ongoing issue for a couple of months now, dating back to January when mayor Lore Christopher opined the site should be the current orchard along Chemawa Road instead of the Site 1 location between the amphitheater and the boat ramp.

The idea of moving the site has been met with some resistance, which was on display once more at Tuesday night’s Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting. The meeting started with Nate Brown, the director of Community Development for Keizer who’s been tasked with getting the orchard property – already within city limits – within the Urban Growth Boundary in time for the five-day community build in September.

“I have a high level of confidence we can meet the deadline,” Brown said.

That didn’t please everyone.

“In my opinion, the location was discussed, debated and voted on by this board and the task force,” Parks Board chair Brandon Smith said. “What we consider the site is what everyone who’s voted on it has picked. Myself and a lot of others were surprised to hear about the UGB and looking at other sites.”

Fellow Parks Board member Roland Herrera nodded.

“I agree with you, because of the timeline,” Herrera said.

Smith brought up the topic again later.

“We’ve discussed locations for quite a while,” he said. “In meetings, we discussed the location closer to the road, the pros and cons. In my mind, it doesn’t work for me. It’s not my preference to go that direction.”

Herrera and Clint Holland agreed with that idea.

“I prefer to leave it where it is down the road,” Holland said.

Holland noted the Keizer Rotary Board recently agreed to put $30,000 towards the project.

However, that funding has one caveat: it would need to be built in the original Site 1 location.

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