Big Toy group hits money goal

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The funding goal for the Big Toy project has been reached, but the work isn’t done.

The slimmed down Community Build Task Force met last week, now down to seven members. Marlene Parsons is still chairing the meetings, which will continue on a monthly basis for at least the next couple of months. A grand opening for the Big Toy is taking place on Saturday, Aug. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Figures provided by Janet Carlson showed the fundraising group raised $321,224.41, or 101 percent of the goal of $319,009.80. That figure was down from the original goal of $416,000, which was lowered by 25 percent in February as the surface was changed to engineered wood fibers.

Cutting the poured-in place rubber surface meant $105,000 was cut from the budget. One of the main objectives for continuing the CBTF is to pursue grants and other funding to get the surface in the future.

“We are at 101 percent of the goal,” Parsons said. “I want to see that in print. We did it, again.”

Carlson said all of $319,009 in the budget was used. That includes $198,618 for construction materials, $38,633.19 to project consultant Leathers and Associates, $32,695.13 in contingency funds, $31,717.82 for the parking lots and paths, $11,140 for food and lodging, $3,770 for donor recognition and $1,725 for a permit.

Funding received to date includes $100,000 from the city of Keizer in the form of system development charges, $87,000 in grants, $76,364.85 in component sales, $29,000 in donated items, $14,423.04 in picket sales and $13,779 in cash contributions.

The biggest grants were $30,000 from Marion County, $25,600 from Keizer Rotary (Rotary also paid for some components), $15,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and $10,000 from the Keizer Parks Foundation.

Cash contributions were highlighted by $5,000 from Portland General Electric, in addition to $2,500 from Mountain West Investment Corporation and $1,000 each from Comcast, Lakepoint Community Church and Ron and Judy Brown.

Component sales were highlighted by $7,000 each from Keizer Fire District and Marion County Fire District No. 1 for the fire station and misters, $6,000 from the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the volcano slide, $5,000 from Keizer Elks for the Wallace House log cabin and $5,000 from Uptown Music for the music station.

“We still have picket sales coming in, at least two to four a week,” Carlson said. “We ordered 365 more. That’s already been included on the sheet. If we sell more, that is more for revenue.”

Carlson later submitted revised forms showing $322,992.76 had been raised, as a couple of benches were not in the earlier numbers.

Parsons asked what the strategy was to pay for an upgraded surface.

“A pour-in-place will be $120,000 to $180,000,” Parsons said. “What will be our strategy now? Will we rely on a grant?”

Carlson and Richard Walsh, members of the fundraising group from the start, said that is indeed the case.

Last year, project leaders worked with city leaders and applied for a $150,000 Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Local Government Grant but were denied. That grant will likely be applied for again next year.

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