Lane County puts Ems stadium proposal on pause
The Lane County Board of Commissioners dealt a blow Tuesday to hopes for a baseball stadium and convention center at the fairgrounds in Eugene.
They’re putting a pause on efforts to build what would be a permanent home for Eugene’s minor league baseball team.
The Emeralds have been playing at the UO’s PK park, but since they were promoted to High-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, they’ve been on borrowed time without their own ballpark.
The team and county face a $43 million funding gap for the project, which is estimated to cost $100.5 million.
“I mean, we all love the Ems, but that’s not what this is about. If it were all about sentimentality,” Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr. “If it were all about Lane County wanting to keep the Ems...that’s an easy discussion, isn’t it?”
Farr compared the situation to when, as a child, he asked his parents for a bicycle for Christmas and was told "maybe."
“Right now we’re saying maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe,” said Farr. “And, I don’t know, I think people would rather hear yes or no. And if I were to precipitate a decision at this time, I would say that decision has got to be no.”
The County voted to amend their contract with a consultant seeking additional funds for the project.
The Eugene Emeralds have been trying to build public support for a new stadium at the Lane Events Center, also known as the county fairgrounds.
The team's General Manager, Allan Benavides, recently wrote an editorial for the Eugene Weekly in which he urged community members to voice their support for the team to the Lane County Board of Commissioners and the Eugene City Council.
“Now the Ems face an existential crisis: Without a new facility, the Emeralds will no longer exist, leaving thousands of fans with nothing but fond memories and depriving Eugene’s future kids the chance to make their own,” Benavides wrote.
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