By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Members of the Keizer Parks Advisory Board got a first look at a 5-year plans for Keizer parks – work made possible by a $4-per-month fee instituted in 2017.
The parks board met Dec. 11 and provided some initial feedback on the 5-year plan for improving maintenance and amenities in Keizer parks. Members of the board plan to provide additional feedback and suggest priority changes at its first meeting of 2019 on Jan. 8. The public is also welcome to provide testimony during that meeting.
The major projects for the 2019-20 fiscal year are an update of Carlson Skate Park, court replacement at Willamette Manor Park, a swingset replacement at Northview Park and tree work system-wide. All of those projects represent deferred maintenance from the past several years. The budget for the next fiscal year, which won’t begin until July 2019, also includes replacement of an 18-year-old truck.
Replacing the Willamette Manor sports court is a high priority for nearby residents and oft-requested. The city repaired the court a few years ago, but it was a bandage at best. At the time, Keizer Parks Supervisor Robert Johnson reported having trouble even finding a contractor willing to take on the project short of a complete overhaul.
In the end, the court was resurfaced, but it didn’t take long for cracks to begin reappearing. The scheduled project will tear out the playable surface completely and replace it.
Board members Donna Bradley and Matt Lawyer wanted to see a Year 3 project, the addition of pathway lighting at Bair Park, moved up to the first or second year of the plan.
“I think it’s important to address it as a priority before year three,” Bradley said.
Lawyer suggested postponing some of the tree work or truck replacement to make room for lighting in Bair Park.
Johnson said the replacement of the truck had already been put off a year to provide for additional improvements this year.
Johnson did make one change to the draft schedule after the meeting at the request of City Councilor Roland Herrera, who is council liaison to the group. Herrera, who lives near Country Glen Park, said the south end of the park was becoming a problem area and asked that additional lighting be installed. Johnson added to to the third year to coincide with the Bair Park lighting, for now.
Board member Wayne Frey asked about a second-year project, the demolition of a house on the Keizer Rapids Park (KRP) property. The house is a remnant from the purchase of property that became KRP, but it is in its last days.
“Remodeling the house is probably not the effective at this point. We would like to remove the house and then have a conversation about what it could become as support to the amphitheater or other large events,” Johnson said.
In the interim, the space house would be replaced with a gravel pad for food trucks to use during large events.