Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, March 20, 2015, Image 5

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Everything you wanted to know about the Big Toy
Of the Keizertimes
In case you haven’t heard,
a big playground is coming to
Keizer soon.
If things go according to
plan, the Big Toy will be built
in June.
The project has had some
issues, such as a nine-month
delay and a controversy over
the location that lasted most
of 2014.
The Keizertimes has cov-
ered every step of the project.
To check on our past cover-
age, visit www.keizertimes.
com and search for Big Toy.
We have put together a set
of answers to questions we’ve
frequently heard in regards to
the Big Toy.
Where is the Big
Toy being built?
The playground is being
built at Keizer Rapids Park.
More specifi cally, the Big Toy
is being built in the orchards
area off of Chemawa Road,
not far from the dog park.
That was not the origi-
nal location. The original site
was between the boat ramp
and the amphitheater. For
months that was the assumed
location, but in January 2014
then-mayor Lore Christopher
opined a move was necessary.
By the end of the year, fol-
lowing an in-depth Urban
Growth Boundary process, the
orchards became part of city
property and the site was se-
lected. Nearly 200 trees were
recently cleared.
When is it being built?
The project is scheduled to
be built in a fi ve-day period,
from June 10 to 14.
How much will
this cost?
The project budget is about
$319,000. Until recently, the
budget was $105,000 more
as a poured-in rubber surface
was going to be used. Ear-
lier this year, the decision was
made to go with engineered
wood fi bers, hence the cut in
the budget. However, Keizer
offi cials will be applying for
grants to pay for the more ex-
pensive surface. If that funding
happens, the wood fi bers will
be moved to other parks in
How much of that
money has been raised?
For a number of months,
the fi gure hovered around
the 50 percent mark. With
the budget cut, the number
jumped to 70 percent. Even
without that, fundraising ef-
forts have been picking up
in recent weeks. The larg-
est contributor in the money
raised so far is still the city, as
$100,000 in System Develop-
ment Charges (SDC) helped
to kick-start things.
What if the money
isn’t raised?
The project will still go on.
Bill Lawyer, Public Works di-
rector for Keizer, has empha-
sized the city is committed to
making sure the Big Toy gets
built. If needed, the city will
put in more SDC funds to
cover any shortcoming.
Janet Carlson, the Marion
County commissioner who
is co-chairing the Big Toy’s
fundraising committee, has
said fundraising won’t end in
June. She feels once people see
the project done, they will be
more willing to contribute fi -
How did the design
come about, and
is it fi nalized?
A designer from New
York-based consultant Leath-
ers and Associates came to
Keizer in November 2013 for
Design Day. She suggested us-
ing the site between the am-
phitheater and the boat ramp,
then led efforts to get design
feedback from 3,000 elemen-
tary aged students in Keizer.
Design ideas from youth were
collected and turned into the
design shown to community
members in a packed meeting
at the Keizer Civic Center.
For the most part, the de-
sign has been fi nalized. One
recent change has been the
addition of a volcano slide
in light of Salem-Keizer Vol-
canoes owner Jerry Walker
pledging funds to pay for the
Wasn’t this project
Technically speaking, it was
delayed twice. While a play-
ground was part of the master
planning process for KRP in
2008, a specifi c project didn’t
get going until Will Stitt
brought up the idea at a Parks
Board meeting in late 2012.
The initial idea was to do the
playground the following year,
but it got pushed back to 2014
to allow for more time, espe-
cially in terms of fundraising
and design.
Funding issues and the on-
going debate over location,
however, pushed the build
date from September 2014 to
this June.
What makes this a
community build project?
Community members will
be doing the actual building
over the fi ve-day span in June.
Think of an old-fashioned
barn raising, swapping out the
barn for a large playground.
In addition, volunteers have
been putting in many hours
at meetings to work on details
for the project.
It’s important to note that
while volunteers will be do-
ing the labor, trained people
will be overseeing the con-
struction. More details about
how the build days will work
should be known after an or-
ganizational day on April 7.
What if I want to get
involved in any way?
No help is being turned
away. Plenty of time slots for
the build days are still available;
those interested can check out
the project’s website at www. and fi ll out a
form to volunteer. The web-
site has plenty of information
about the project, including
how to provide fi nancial sup-
How long has this
been planned?
Since November 2012. A
Community Build Task Force
was formed shortly after and
to excellence
to service
5 0 3 . 3 9 0 . 9 111
W W W. K E I Z E R F I R E . C O M • FA C E B O O K . C O M / K E I Z E R F I R E D I S T R I C T
The site in the orchards at Keizer Rapids Park where the Big Toy playground structure will be
going was recently cleared with nearly 200 trees total being taken out.
A look at the latest rendering of the Big Toy playground structure, incorporating the recent
addition of a volcano slide.
has been meeting monthly.
Will this for sure
be done?
Project leaders have ex-
pressed complete confi dence
it will be done and bristle at
the notion it might be delayed
again or might not happen at
all. As mentioned above, city
leaders have pledged to make
sure it will be done.