City increases grant request total by $50K

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

According to the commercials, 15 minutes could save you 15 percent.

Members of the Keizer City Council are hoping 10 minutes from Monday will pay 50 percent more.

Councilors met in a special session at noon on March 31 to repeal a resolution pertaining to The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park play structure project.

The big grant application for the project, to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for its Local Government Grant due this Friday, was going to be for $100,000. It’s expected to be known in July whether the application proves successful.

The city would be up for an equal amount in matching funds, which was done last year to get the project started. Roughly one-third of the Park Improvement Fund money was used to get designer Leathers and Associates out of New York on board as project contractor.

But in recent weeks there had been dialogue as to whether or not the application should be for a higher amount.

Councilors unanimously decided on Monday the answer was yes and thus approved a revised resolution asking for $150,000.

The special meeting was necessary since the topic was brought up at the March 25 fundraising committee meeting and the next regular council meeting isn’t until Monday, April 7 – three days after the grant application is due.

Councilor Jim Taylor, who had suggested the need for a special meeting last week, wanted to know if asking for more lessened the chances of getting the grant.

Nate Brown, Keizer’s director of Community Development who is submitting the grant application, feels good about the chances.

“I don’t think it’s a problem,” Brown said of raising the amount. “This is the second year of the biennium, with less (money) to give, so it’s more competitive. I was toying with asking for more. But in talking with (OPRD) staff, this is a more competitive grant. I’m confident this (increase) will not negatively impact our competitiveness. We have a good track record with them, a good relationship. We have met all of their expectations.”

City Manager Chris Eppley summed it up briefly.

“This is a right-sized request,” Eppley said.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, noted the amount of the grant request must be matched.

“Any amount given must be matched by the local jurisdiction,” Lawyer said. “Therefore, an increase of the request of $50,000 carries an equal commitment of additional resources of the city. The match can be from a variety of sources, including other grants or donations, donated materials or labor.”

Including labor expected to be donated during the Sept. 17 to 21 community build, the estimated project cost is estimated to be about $700,000.

Mayor Lore Christopher said “we haven’t really started fundraising” for the project, but expects money raised to cover the additional $50,000 in matching funds necessary with the larger grant request.

“That additional $50,000 could come from the Park Improvement Fund,” Christopher said. “But that’s the worst case scenario.”

At the end of the 10-minute meeting, council president Joe Egli made a motion to authorize the $150,000 application. Councilors approved the motion unanimously.

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