By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Now the location is known for the Big Toy.
The website is up and running at keizerbigtoy.org.
Among the details still to be determined: what the Big Toy will be placed on.
Members of the Keizer City Council approved a new location for the community build play structure at Keizer Rapids Park earlier this month. The structure is scheduled to be built over a five-day span from June 10 to 14, 2015.
Before then, one of the details yet to be finalized is what type of ground covering to use.
Budget figures have ranged from $16,000 using wood chips to $167,000 using spongy rubber material. The current budget lists $105,000 for rubber chips.
Clint Holland has talked about getting a rubber surface from RB Rubber Products in McMinnville, but noted at a recent fundraising committee meeting the company sold its division that does the work.
“We were trying to get rubber that looks like bark chips,” Holland said. “If we want to do this, we need to really look at it. The rubber surface is more than the rubber chips. The $105,000 in the budget is for rubber chips.”
Marion County Commission Janet Carlson, chair of the fundraising committee, feels a more final cost figure needs to be secured.
“We need a better number for this as soon as we can,” she said.
Mayor Lore Christopher feels a range can be okay at this point.
“We can have a range of flooring, from X to Y amount,” Christopher said. “I think this is a moving target.”
Carlson likened the cost to a different type of flooring.
“We need to get a range, for different size areas,” Carlson said. “Once we find the price, it’s like getting pricing for carpet.”
Holland showed pictures on his phone of a new large play structure in McMinnville, putting an emphasis on the surface used.
“You spread dust in, which helps with the softness,” Holland said. “In McMinnville, they spread the rubber surface. It looks like wood with all the rough edges taken off. It’s like driftwood.”
In recent months, health concerns have been raised about rubber crumbs from artificial turf causing cancer among soccer players – in particular goalies, whose faces are more likely to come into contact with the turf.
Due to the concerns, Holland has vowed whatever surface is used in Keizer won’t have anything that could potentially make children sick.
“The Big Toy is not going to use it,” Holland said of rubber crumb. “It’s the loose material, the fine shavings. When goalies hit their face on the ground and the stuff goes up in the nose, the chemicals might be causing the cancer. There might be other types of products to put in there instead.”
At recent meetings, Holland has been carrying around a block of the type of product he’d like to use. The base is black and stiff, with a blue-green top.
“This stuff can be used,” Holland said. “This is used in McMinnville. It’s like driftwood from the ocean is what it looks like to me. You can get it in any color. The costs might go down with something like this.”
For nearly a year Holland has talked about being able to get the material at RB Rubber at a good price, but that opportunity seems to have passed.
“They sold that division, so we couldn’t get it there anymore,” he said.