South Eugene

Updated vision for Civic carries a lower price tag

Updated vision for Civic carries a lower price tag

EUGENE, Ore. -- The days of packed grandstands and summer baseball may have left the Eugene Civic Stadium, but diehard supporters of the old home to the Emeralds are not giving up.

Last year they were talking about pro soccer, entertainment venues and a big $7 million plan.
Now stadium backers believe a scaled down plan is the better road to success.

Yet can this field of weeds become once again, a field of dreams? Dennis Herbert is ever the optimist. 

"Being an old retired carpenter I just never get tired of looking up at this great old place," says Herbert, one of the charter members of the Friends of Civic Stadium committee.

Herbert says the committee is regrouping. It's decided the initial $7 million plan to buy all the land and refurbish the stadium cost too much. The vision now is for a soccer and field-sports center with some mixed retail.

Herbert tells KVAL News, "Perhaps something like a little plaza that would have a coffee shop, maybe a little sporting shop."

He wouldn't give names, but says 3 independent developers and 2 non-profits have put out feelers on the plan.

There are still no buyers lined up for Civic but a new idea may help speed that process along, something Herbert calls a conservation easement. He explains the 3 and a half acres of stadium and field would be set aside for preservation.

The rest of the property would be put up for sale, giving potential developers a tax break and let the committee focus on fund raising for the stadium and field. Reporter Tom Adams asked Herbert, "To raise $2-million for the new plan, is that possible?"  

"We think that is a very very high possibility," says Herbert.

That $2 million is the combined cost of refurbishing the stadium and putting down an all-weather artificial turf.

Lots of hurdles remain but Herbert thinks the cheering crowds will be back.

Meanwhile, Kerry Delf of the Eugene 4-J district tells me the future of Civic Stadium won't be discussed by the board until August. Civic has been on the district's surplus property list for about ten years.