This story originally aired on September 17, 2013.
The cash-strapped Eugene 4J School District is once again looking to sell the Civic Stadium property in South Eugene. The aging facility needs major repairs, and lost its main tenant, the Eugene Emeralds baseball team, a few years back. Monday night, the Eugene City Council explored the possibility of purchasing the property itself.
The City of Eugene originally owned Civic Stadium, but sold it to 4J for a dollar early in its history. Now councilors George Brown and Greg Evans want the city to step in and buy it back– at a significantly higher price tag.
“I’m a baseball guy.”
Councilor Evans put forward a proposal for the city to work with the school district on options that would maintain the property and stadium for recreational use.
“I think that preserving a piece of our history is critical. Using this as functional public resource is another important part of really retaining the character of Eugene.”
City staff said money from a parks bond could be used to purchase Civic. But it could not be used to renovate the stadium, nor could it be used if the city wanted to lease the property to a third party – like a professional soccer team.
Two councilors cautioned against city involvement, saying Eugene should focus on other priorities. Despite this, a majority supported these first baby steps towards bringing Civic Stadium back under city control.