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Cheaper surface means Big Toy budget trimmed


Of the Keizertimes

Expenses for the Big Toy have been chopped by a quarter.

A motion was approved at the Feb. 10 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting to hold off on getting a top-line surface for the play structure at Keizer Rapids Park.

A similar motion was approved the week before at the Community Build Task Force meeting.

Plans now call for a poured-in rubber surface to be pursued for later, if grants can be secured. In place of the poured-in surface, engineered wood fiber is now the choice.

The impact on the budget is notable.

The Big Toy budget lists expenses as being $416,509.80, including $105,000 for rubber surface materials.

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project scheduled to be built by community volunteers in a five-day span from June 10 to 14, said the $105,000 was on top of $45,000 already part of the $191,119 listed for construction materials.

Subtracting the $105,000 means a total of $311,509.80 would have to be raised. As of the Feb. 3 CBTF meeting, a total of $205,948.86 had been raised.

“The poured in material could be added later,” Richard Walsh said at the Parks Board meeting. “We can have the city apply for a grant for the pour-in-place cover next year. (The surface) is the largest ticket item. This makes the whole Big Toy project very doable.”

Caillier said cost estimates from project consultant Leathers and Associates in late January had the engineer wood fibers costing about $3 a square foot for the 15,000 square foot project, or $45,000. A ground rubber surface was estimated at $7 a square foot, while the pour-in-place surface was $10 to $13 a square foot.

“We had in our budget the $45,000 for surfacing,” Caillier said this week. “We raised it $105,000 after getting some rough quotes (for the pour-in-place surface).”

At the Feb. 3 CBTF meeting, Keizer Public Works director Bill Lawyer said the wood fibers would meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. He also noted a pour-in-place surface would need time to set.

“With poured into place, the playground will not be open when construction is done,” Lawyer said.

Marlene Quinn, chair of the CBTF, liked the idea of going with the cheaper option and trying to get grants later for more.

“We can get it done and built now,” she said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to doing wood fibers now.”

Caillier pointed out the pour-in-place surface also has to be cleaned every 30 days to keep the warranty valid.

Lawyer said city staff would not have time to apply for the grant this year.

“We’re not going to be able to get it done,” Lawyer said. “We don’t have the time as staff to get it done.”

Volunteers could pick up the slack, however. When Lawyer mentioned the staff time issue at Tuesday’s Keizer City Council meeting, no fewer than three names of people who could help were suggested in the span of several minutes, with councilor Amy Ripp among those offering to help.

At last week’s Parks Board meeting, Lawyer said if a grant is secured later for the pour-in-place surface, the wood chips put down initially could be reused.

“If it is two years out, we can use those chips in other parks,” he said.

Quinn, who also serves as the council liaison to the Parks Board, feels the pour-in-place surface is in the future for the Big Toy.

“It will happen, it’s just a matter of when,” Quinn said.