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Shining knight to rescue Civic Stadium?

Eugene EmeraldsLocal grocer Rick Wright is offering to lease Civic Stadium for three years to give the local Y and the Save Civic Stadium activists a chance to put together a plan to save the historic WPA-era facility and the former home to the Eugene Emeralds (short season; Northwest League).

Wright owns Market of Choice, a chain of eight grocery stores in the Eugene area. His offer to lease the former ballpark for three years at $250,00 will give the nonprofits a chance to put together a usage and preservation plan that would retain the facility as a recreational space. Admittedly, Wright does have some ulterior motives as well: a new grocery store near his flagship store certainly could siphon off some sales.

The Eugene School Board is working on a plan for the future of the former ballpark and has three bids for the property: besides the local Y and the Save Civic Stadium folks, a developer is proposing the ballpark be torn down and replaced by a Fred Meyer grocery store and strip mall. The prospect of a strip mall and out-of-town chain store has fueled opposition to the proposal, with local neighborhood groups vowing to oppose the rezoning of the tract needed to make the grocery store a reality.

And this uncertainty about the future of the site forced the developers to hedge their bets a little: while the Wright offer calls for $250,000 annually immediately, the Fred Meyer bid would pay only $25,000 annually up front, rising to $50,000 annually if certain city permissions are achieved and rising to $330,000 only when the grocery store and strip mall are up and running. in other words, the Fred Meyer developers are pitching an option.

The Wright offer comes late in the process and after bidding on the site has been closed. The Eugene School Board will meet with counsel to see if tossing out all three bids and accepting the Wright bid is legal; another option is denying all three bids and then opening up the bidding process again. In any case, the demolition of Civic Stadium might be postponed if everything falls into place.

RELATED STORIES: Eugene: We’re not spending money on Civic Stadium; Developer: We’ll move Civic Stadium if that’s what it takes; Eugene residents: Save Civic Stadium; 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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