The vast majority of residents testifying before the Eugene City Council last night over the fate of Civic Stadium had an overwhelming message: Don’t let the local school district replace the historic ballpark with a run-of-the-mill Fred Meyer grocery store in a strip mall.
The school district, which owns the ballpark site, has been debating the future of Civic Stadium for years now. The former home of the Eugene Emeralds (short season A; Northwest League) and Pacific Coast League baseball is now unoccupied with the move of the Ems to PK Park, and the school system, facing budgetary issues, put the ballpark site out to bid. There were three respondents: developers looking to build a new Fred Meyer store, the local Y, and Save Civic Stadium, which wants to see the ballpark converted for use as a soccer facility. (Which would be a move back to its roots, kinda: Civic Stadium actually began life as a football stadium.)
The most money would come from the developer; the least from the preservationists.
Civic Stadium was a WPA-funded ballpark and served as the home to Pacific Coast League and Northwest League baseball for decades. It’s a historic facility; there aren’t many WPA-era ballparks left.
So far the city has been removed from the discussions, but with a potential development impacting the area, there’s now a need for involvement, since a decision is due by June 1. If the city becomes involved — say, in supporting the Save Civic Stadium with some financial guarantees — it could tip the scales away from development and toward preservation.
RELATED STORIES: Another option emerges for Civic Stadium: strip mall!; Developers withdraw plan to renovate Civic Stadium; future of ballpark in doubt; Eugene School Board puts Civic Stadium on the market; Glickman to assist in Civic Stadium preservation effort ; Eugene debates future of historic Civic Stadium; Group proposing renovation of Civic Stadium
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