Parks Board matching grant program funds first request, for mics

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Matt Lawyer, shown during Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of Julius Caesar, was granted a request for a new microphone and speaker system at Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES file/Eric A. Howald)

Matt Lawyer, shown during Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of Julius Caesar, was granted a request for a new microphone and speaker system at Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES file/Eric A. Howald)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

There is now only $13,000 left in the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board’s new matching grant program.

The reduction of $1,000 is because that’s the amount given to the first applicant for the program, which started last month.

Matt Lawyer made a request for $1,000 on behalf of the Keizer Homegrown Theatre at the Aug. 12 Parks Board meeting. The request was for a wireless microphone system and speakers to be used at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park.

“One of the things we’re looking at is continuing to improve the product, but also the sound opportunities for that space,” Lawyer said. “We want the best quality product for anyone. When you get towards the top (of the amphitheater), sometimes it’s a struggle hearing from that distance.”

Lawyer’s proposal included two bid estimates from Uptown Music, one for $2,070 and the other for $1,790, with the more expensive figure including microphone stands.

Parks Board chair Brandon Smith wondered about who would actually own the equipment.

“So the idea is this becomes property of the city?” Smith asked, getting an affirmative response.

Parks Board member Clint Holland, who runs the amphitheater, noted other groups would be able to use the equipment as well.

“This could be used at city hall,” Holland said. “Other groups can use it.”

The equipment would likely be stored either at city hall or the Public Works shop, since there is no storage place at KRP.

“It’s nice to have a system like this,” Parks Board member Roland Herrera said. “This is perfect.”

Board member Tanya Hamilton asked how rental of the equipment would work.

“Would a non-profit be able to access it for free or at a discounted cost?” she asked.

Public Works director Bill Lawyer, Matt’s uncle, noted the details hadn’t been fully worked out.

“That’s a good point,” he said. “It’s something we’d have to establish. First I would say only on city property. It’s not appropriate to use this at a non-city property. That’s something we hadn’t considered.”

Holland suggested coming up with some sort of fee.

“We should charge something to build up a reserve,” Holland said. “That way when maintenance comes up, you’ve got cash to take care of it.”

Matt Lawyer said anyone with any sort of sound board experience should find the system easy to use.

“We’d be happy to write up a standard procedure or base settings,” he said.

Board member Richard Walsh liked how the proposal was done.

“The great thing about this program is people will put in the hours and get the bids,” Walsh said. “If we had city staff do this work, if it was less than $300 I’d be surprised.”

Smith was in agreement and noted the $1,000 being requested was less than half of the project cost.

“We’re getting better than a 50-50 match on this,” Smith said. “So this is our first request.”

Board member William Criteser asked if the board should respond to requests one at a time as they come in, or wait until a few are proposed.

“Did you want to wait for a backlog?” he asked.

“We had considered that,” Smith responded. “This is the August meeting and this is the only thing so far. I was hoping to have more applications.”

Criteser agreed with that view.

“Maybe one will get you more,” he said.

The request was approved with a 7-0 vote.

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