By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Rick Day may no longer be on the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, but a project he championed continues to move forward.
For several years, Day was the driving force behind plans to renovate the former Charge house or caretaker’s house at Keizer Rapids Park.
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, gave an update on the project during Tuesday’s Parks Board meeting.
“We do have the architectural report back,” Lawyer said. “It just outlines things. Everything is positive. The structure is feasible.”
Lawyer noted the report had a cost estimate based on plans Day had drawn up, not an alternative drawing by Richard Walsh which slightly altered the layout.
“It didn’t include the alternate floor plan,” Lawyer said. “That might change construction costs, but I don’t know to what degree.”
Walsh has been in discussion with the leaders from the Salem-based Straub Environmental Learning Center about the potential use of the building for educational purposes.
“I talked with the city council about Straub,” Walsh said. “We had a non-binding draft. We had the additional drawing to accommodate the needs of the Straub Center. The council said they liked the concept and to continue the discussions. I look forward to working with the Straub Environmental Learning Center.”
Lawyer said the big number for the project was the $93,000 estimated for a new septic system.
“That assumes the city pays for everything to be done,” he noted. “Any donated material and labor will lower the cost.”
Lawyer also had an estimated cost for the work on the building itself, which would include a new metal roof and reconfiguring the current layout.
“The cost is about $150,000,” Lawyer said. “That’s contracting the entire job, for all the work. It does not specifically deal with the electrical and plumbing costs. The good news of this is the structure is clearly feasible for the intended use, which is what we were really looking for in this report.”
In other business Tuesday:
• Brandon Smith was unanimously selected as new board chair. Former chair Walsh made the nomination. Smith, in turn, nominated David Louden as vice chair, a move also unanimously approved.
With Smith running the meeting, there was a notable difference: the meeting took barely more than 30 minutes. In the past, meetings have typically taken two hours when Walsh was chair. Lawyer couldn’t resist making a quip about it.
“Richard, it’s been three years of pain,” Lawyer said with a laugh. “I’m sorry, that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I couldn’t resist.”
• Many of last year’s meetings ran long due to in-depth discussion of a proposed parks fee ballot measure. Mayor Lore Christopher and Keizer City Council members threw cold water on the idea last month.
“We were advised by the council in very definite terms not to pursue options at this time,” Smith said. “We’ll put off a public hearing until at least October, when the playground (at Keizer Rapids Park) is done. There was a concern people could think the new tax would be used for the new play structure. It will be off the agenda until at least October.”
• Tuesday’s meeting was held in council chambers for the first time, a move made necessary because Parks Board meetings are now being televised on K-23.
• Board member Jason Bruster was reappointed last month by the Volunteer Coordinating Committee, but there were some reservations due to the number of meetings Bruster has missed. Walsh spoke in favor of Bruster, which helped him be reappointed.
Bruster was absent on Tuesday.