A key vote on a new Eugene Emeralds ballpark is set for later today, with Lane County commissioners deliberating two tourist-tax increases to help pay for a facility at the Lane County Fairgrounds.
County commissioners will be voting on a 2 percent hotel tax increase and a 2 percent car rental tax increase to fund the new Eugene Emeralds ballpark, which is expected to cost between $60 and $80 million. The current funding plan calls for the Emeralds to contribute $13 million and the state $7 million, with the rest coming from the aforementioned county sales-tax proceeds and adjacent revenue streams like naming rights.
The Emeralds were forced to search for a new home after MLB’s takeover of MiLB and the imposition of new facility rules. PK Park is a fine college venue and a great spot to take in a ballgame, but it lacks the infrastructure required by MLB for MiLB teams–large clubhouses, training spots, changing spaces for women, etc. Without those upgrades, Eugene could lose its MiLB team in 2025.
The Lane County Fairgrounds is centrally located in Eugene and is already host to a variety of venues and events. From KEZI:
“These taxes happen all over the country,” said Brian Movalson of the nearby Graduate Hotels. “We’ve been paying for ballparks, stadiums and arenas… every time you go to Texas, Atlanta, Arizona or California… so I see this as an excellent opportunity to raise needed dollars to improve the area and provide some much-needed multi-purpose facilities.”…
Locals are skeptical about the new stadium, stating concerns about traffic, parking, lighting and noise. If those concerns can be addressed, most are in favor of the project. There are also those that favor the tax, but not the stadium, saying a different structure such as an indoor track facility should be built instead.