Parks Board members want to start quickly

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Once the new fiscal year starts in July, a new matching grant program in the city starts.

Members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board have been ironing out details of the new matching grant program – modeled after a similar program in Salem – the last few months after first discussing the idea back in February. Typically at that time Parks Board members would start putting together budget requests and priorities for the coming fiscal year, but this year a new direction was taken.

Board members looked at proposed application forms and discussed funding once again during this month’s meeting.

The idea for the program is simple: groups or organizations will submit applications for projects and indicate what they are willing to put into the project, both in terms of materials and labor. Parks Board members will go through the applications and choose the top ones, matching funding requests.

As an example, if a group is willing to put in $500 towards cleaning up a park and the application is accepted, Parks Board members could put $500 worth in materials towards the project.

From the start, the matching grant program has been somewhat impacted by funding. In recent years the Parks Board has had $20,000 to spend in a year. The number is half of that this time around, though Keizer City Councilor Marlene Quinn indicated a willingness to help.

“We have some money left on the table and I will work harder than my darnedest to get that into the parks,” said Quinn, the council liaison to the Parks Board. “I will get that into the parks. It stands now at $10,000 but another $4,000 is left on the table. We’re not done yet.”

Board member Clint Holland pointed to a couple of things he felt should be added to the application form.

“Does private cash donations include in-kind donations?” Holland asked. “Where would that go?”

Chair Brandon Smith agreed that could be added.

Holland also brought up a topic that has been the subject of discussion with the Big Toy playground project.

“Will a recognition sign be a required part?” he asked. “Will it make any difference on the awarding of a grant?”

Smith said it wouldn’t.

“That won’t be a determining factor,” Smith said. “The idea with parks master plans is to have an emphasis on things that are in the master plans.”

Smith wants the application forms finalized and out as soon as possible, to start accruing a list of potential projects.

“When can people submit things?” he asked the group. “When the budget is finished? It won’t be official until the council is done (with the budget) in June. It’s important by the end of May that we be able to put this out.”

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, noted the budget will be discussed by council on June 2 and is expected to be approved that night. Smith expects to present about the project that night and will have a short fact sheet to give to councilors.

“We will be ready at our meeting in June and in July we can look at our first stack of applications,” Smith said.

Next month’s Parks Board meeting is at 6 p.m. on June 10.

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