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Civic Stadium Park Re-Envisioned After Fire

Civic Alliance

Eugene's Civic Stadium property was open to the public yesterday (Sunday) for the first time since a fire destroyed the historic grandstand in June. About 1,500 people visited for "Civic Community Day" to play games, reminisce and get a look at the master plan to rebuild the site. Civic Alliance Advisory Board member Derrick Johnson tells KLCC's Tiffany Eckert about the fire's effects and what the future holds.

Johnson: "The only thing the fire did as far as putting us back was just move our dates back a little bit. The fact of it is, that fire actually galvanized the community and made the community realize how valuable that property is to the entire city."

Derrick Johnson says the structures and property were insured and part of the $3 million dollar settlement was used for clean-up. Today, a tall pile of scrap metal and charred grass are reminders.

The preliminary site plans for Civic Park include a 44,000 square foot gymnasium complex, a small stadium to replace the historic grandstand, and a rectangular field with artificial turf.

Johnson: "Because we anticipate having over 200 uses per year on that turf including soccer, ultimate Frisbee, rugby, lacrosse, high school sports and community recreation sports."

Johnson doesn't know how much this project is going to cost. Architects and engineers will provide schematics then Civic Alliance will build a budget around which fundraising will depend.

Johnson: "So that when people see the number they will also see exactly what that number is attached to. Rather than throwing a number out there without an idea as to what the buildings are gonna look like, where they are going to be situated. We're going to have the schematics done and there will be a number and then we'll be able to go to the community with that package."

Johnson was born and raised in Eugene. He remembers a time when there were lots of playing fields and gyms for kids.

Credit Civic Alliance
Kids and grownups play games during Civic Community Day.

Johnson: "And as I've lived here as an adult, I've seen those get pared back as schools close as open spaces get built over. And this was 10.2 acres that had been forever in the inventory of play spaces for the community. And so when I saw there was an opportunity to put it back into an active play space—I thought, 'this is an opportunity we just can't let go."

A capital campaign is expected to begin in late Fall. Civic Alliance is a non-profit group that includes KIDSPORTS and a board of advisors who each want the new Civic Park to be a place for kids to play.

Credit Civic Alliance
Eugene-Springfield fire fighters and police were recognized for their service during the Civic Stadium fire on June 29, 2015.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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