By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Jerry Nuttbrock is quite familiar with the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park.
After all, he helped build it and he lives pretty close to it.
Now, Nuttbrock wants to class it up.
“I’ve been looking for a project to sink my teeth into since doing the amphitheater,” Nuttbrock said at the March 10 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting. “I want to propose one, about some ideas I’ve been having in my head.”
Nuttbrock, who recently cleared 198 trees in the orchards at KRP for the Big Toy playground project (as featured in the March 6 Keizertimes), showed Parks Board members sketches of his plans.
“Let’s call it improvements in amenities related to the amphitheater,” Nuttbrock said. “Maybe you could call it a patio for the amphitheater. The sketch I put together has five components. I think of them as separate. They can be funded separately, even though they go together. I want to pitch each item. I’ve hung a price on four of them.
“This would be done subject to getting volunteers,” he added. “I’d be willing to spearhead it like I did with the amphitheater, to get a team of volunteers which would drive the costs down. This is sort of a wish list. Think of it as a mini-master plan around the amphitheater.”
Nuttbrock’s proposed amenities are a hardscape patio (worth $12,000), a cantilevered deck ($8,700), a fireplace/pizza oven/barbecue ($5,000), a tree platform ($1,500) and a new food concession building which doesn’t have a dollar amount attached yet.
The patio would be in the area behind the current snack shack and would be about 2,400 square feet in size. As proposed, there would be two planters along the front.
There would be a step down from the patio to the proposed cantilevered deck, which would be approximately 900 square feet in size.
“I want it to look good from the amphitheater,” Nuttbrock said. “This deck would kind of float out there, attached to the maple trees. You could create an area with picnic tables. That would afford a great view to watch the amphitheater.”
Nuttbrock said the tree platform or “eagles nest” would be a “treehouse without the tree part.” It would have seating for two or three people, which he could see as being raffled off for viewing of amphitheater events.
“You have to be there to appreciate the idea,” he said. “I just thought it was a cool idea, which would give us bragging rights as far as amenities in the park.”
The fireplace would sit on the back of the patio, a freestanding stone or brick unit with a chimney.
“There’s a spot there for a wood fire pizza oven and a place to drop in a barbecue to add a little class to it,” Nuttbrock said. “The fireplace would be open on three sides.”
Nuttbrock explained the basic premise behind his plans.
“The whole idea is to dress the amphitheater up, to take advantage of what we have going already,” he said. “I want to add some class. What I see in my mind is a nice wood frame structure, a rustic looking building that fits well in the nature of the park that would have some class. That’s the whole point, to put more polish in the amphitheater and to make it more functional. This is meant to compliment the Charge house and whatever develops there.”
In regards to a question from Parks Board member Clint Holland, Nuttbrock said cost figures were estimates.
“It depends on the design,” he said. “I assume you would want some input. The numbers would flex and would go down with donated material and labor.”
Holland estimated the new additions could add seating for about 75 to 100 more people.
Parks Board member Donna Bradley liked what she saw.
“I applaud your thinking,” Bradley told Nuttbrock. “It would be a great amenity. I could see this as a wedding venue. I would encourage you to get harder figures and to let us know what kind of volunteer group you can get together. We don’t have a lot of money for the whole thing.”
When asked by Tanya Hamilton about which item would go first, Nuttbrock said the hardscape patio would make the most sense.
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said the park master plan incorporate the whole backyard area of the Charge house, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
There were a couple of items, however, that were an issue for Lawyer.
“The fireplace scares me, especially with the open fire,” he said. “Maybe I need to just get by my concern. As far as the cantilevered deck, that would need permits. The concept is fine. There is a lot of detail here. There’s not a lot of process that has to happen.”
Hamilton and Parks Board chair David Louden echoed Bradley in wanting some more details.
“We’re kind of excited about the idea,” Scott Klug said. “I need to go there to see what you’re thinking, but it sounds awesome.”
Nuttbrock noted he was expecting the project to take a while to complete.
“I had no misconceptions that this thing would just pop out of the ground this spring,” he said. “I was thinking it would take a while.”