April 28, 2015; Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
The Eugene Civic Alliance, an organization comprised of volunteers, closed a multipart $4.5 million deal to purchase Eugene, Oregon’s historic Civic Stadium on Monday. The deal involved the Eugene School District, the city of Eugene, and Market of Choice owner Rick Wright. The ballpark will be renovated for soccer and a site for a Kidsports fieldhouse.
Civic Stadium has been owned by the Eugene School District since it was built in 1938 following the approval of a City Charter amendment and property tax levy. The district purchased the land for $1.
For many years, the property was a venue for high school football, semi-professional baseball, graduations, rodeos, minor league baseball and other activities. Since 2002, the property was designated as a surplus property, given that the district had no educational need for the stadium.
“We are just thrilled to have this chapter completed,” said Derek Johnson of the alliance. “It gives us the opportunity to apply for grants to renovate the property, and to circle back to folks in the community who expressed interest in helping us develop the property once we own it. We now own it, and we are looking forward to that part of the process.”
The Eugene Civic Alliance spent one year raising money, which included selling part of the property near South Eugene High School. The acquisition of the property will prevent the site to be demolished and turned into a shopping center or YMCA.
“We were able to get a fair price for the property, and it provided us with the certainty of receiving the funds without going through the long permitting process, which would have been required, and which may not have been approved,” said school board Chairman Jim Torrey. “The last thing we wanted to do was to start another request-for-proposals process.”
Friends of Civic Stadium (FoCS) will continue to raise funds for the property. The first priority is to restore the grandstand. The alliance also plans to give a portion of the stadium to Kidsports, a private nonprofit organization that provides youth sports programs for pre-K through 12th grade. Kidsports plans to build a fieldhouse for volleyball, basketball, and other activities.—Erin Lamb