A look at the Big Toy budget

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

As originally planned, the Big Toy would be built at Keizer Rapids Park next month.

The project has been delayed until June 2015, as previously reported in the Keizertimes.

The delay is a good thing, when looking at the budget for the project.

County Commissioner Janet Carlson, co-chair of the project’s fundraising committee, went over the most current numbers with the paper this week.

The budget lists expenses estimated to be $416,509.80; of that amount, $197,400 has been raised so far. That equates to 47 percent. Separate from that, the budget calls for $326,073.70 in in-kind labor, with most of that being volunteered labor on the five build days next June 11 to 15.

Of that amount raised, $100,000 comes from seed or plant money from the City of Keizer, in the form of System Development Charges funds. Another $85,000 comes from grants awarded so far, with the remaining $12,400 from contributions or sales.

Carlson said the $85,000 in grants includes $30,000 each from Marion County and Keizer Rotary, plus $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and $10,000 from the Keizer Parks Foundation.

Carlson, the McNary High School graduate who has been working extensively with Keizer Public Works director Bill Lawyer, Community Build Task Force co-chair Richard Walsh and project general contractor Mark Caillier, said the hope is the money from Keizer Rotary will come in. Previously, it had been indicated Keizer Rotary would give the money only if the play structure was built in the originally approved location near the amphitheater. The location is unknown at this point, with several locations under consideration.

“Mark, Bill and Rich are confident the Rotary money will come in,” Carlson said.

In terms of contributions and sales, the total so far includes $8,900 in component sales, with the remaining coming from sales of fence pickets being sold at $35 each.

The sold component items list includes Marion County Fire District No. 1 buying two fire truck mister stations for $6,000, plus another $1,000 from MCFD for a fire station. Caillier and his wife Kris have purchased a beaver balance beam on chains for $1,000. Marlene Quinn, project co-chair, has purchased a bench for $900.

Caillier said approximately 100 pickets have been sold so far.

In terms of expenditures, the current budget isn’t much different than the one submitted in May when city officials applied for a $150,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, an application that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

One key difference comes in the money allotted for the surface materials to cover the ground. A big source of discussion has been what type of materials to use, with bark chips, shredded rubber and a poured rubber surface being the three main options. The price difference between the three was estimated last spring to be about $150,000, with the bark chips on the low end and the poured surface at the top end.

The original budget called for $150,000 for surface materials, while the revised budget lowers that figure to $105,000. Carlson said Clint Holland has indicated he has a contact who can help out with recycled rubber material which look like wood chips but are softer and smoother. Carlson carries an example in her purse.

“I don’t like wood chips,” Carlson said. “They have splinters and they’re not that soft. This looks like bark dust, but it is soft.”

Carlson noted a poured surface would be a Cadillac-level material, but there would be ongoing maintenance on top of the higher upfront costs.

“Mark says the $105,000 is a liberal guess; it’s probably actually less than $105,000,” Carlson said.

Due to that amount being lowered, the amount needed from contributions and sales was lowered from $145,000 to a little more than $92,000.

The main item for expenditures is construction materials, with the revised budget showing $191,118 in that category. Carlson noted Caillier has priced out individual components at Lowe’s to come up with that figure.

Other expenditures include $40,000 for a parking lot and paths, $38,750 for design and project management fees to New York-based consultant Leathers and Associates (up from the original $35,000), $7,500 for food on build days, $5,000 for donor recognition and signage, $4,800 for concrete for posts and a contingency fee of $24,341.80.

“These are still estimates, but they are based on much better information now,” Carlson said. “The most concerning numbers are construction materials, since we have to still buy the items. You always want to have the most liberal estimates on costs while being conservative on what you will bring in for funding.”

Counting the SDC money from Keizer, the $197,400 received so far represents 47 percent of the necessary money being raised, with $219,110 left to raise.

While the percentage was billed recently by Walsh and Quinn as the amount raised by the fundraising committee, Carlson believes it’s fair to include the $100,000 from the city.

“The $100,000 is Keizer’s contribution to it,” she said. “The $100,000 paid for Leathers and for other expenses.”

Carlson said all task force members are responsible for trying to sell components and has stressed the need for anyone selling a component to let all others know, so that the same business or person doesn’t get hit up multiple times for the same item. Information of all sales is being sent to Debbie Lockhart, deputy city recorder with the city.

“We are funneling it all into Debbie Lockhart, who is tracking it,” Carlson said. “She can send out information and everyone can send information to Debbie.”

The next CBTF meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3 in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center, a day later than normal. The next fundraising committee meeting is Sept. 17.

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