Civic Stadium: Schools chief recommends City's proposal

EUGENE, Ore. - The superintendent of the Eugene 4J School District recommends the school board pick the City of Eugene's plan for Eugene Civic Stadium over competing proposals from the Eugene YMCA and a developer working with retailer Fred Meyer.

Of the three plans, only the City's proposal calls for preserving the historic wooden stadium.

That wasn't the motivation for superintendent Sheldon Berman.

"At this point I've decided that I'm going to put forward a recommendation to offer Civic Stadium to the City," Berman said Monday. "Although the Fred Meyer offer has more funding and the Y has other benefits, we feel like this is a productive time to resolve this quickly."

Berman's recommendation to the school board is not binding.

The board plans to deliberate Wednesday, Feb. 5, and again Wednesday, Feb. 19. The board is scheduled to select a plan at that Feb. 19 meeting.

"There is a community benefit in maintaining the property in public ownership," Berman wrote. "There is a great deal of community interest in the future of the property, particularly in nearby neighborhoods. The Eugene School District has a long-standing history of collaboration and partnership with the City of Eugene. I recommend that 4J defer to the city the judgment about the appropriate future best use of the property if the purchase goes forward."

"I am recommending that the Board select the City's offer and negotiate certain provisions," Berman wrote.

Berman suggested the school board makes sure the agreement:

1. Gives the Eugene 4J District a portion of any financial gain if the City of Eugene later sells the property

2. Assigns the City responsibility for the cost of maintaining, insuring and securing property over 9-month period proposed by city

3. Specifies that the city's 9-month timeline is firm and cannot be extended.

"Although the City's offer is not the highest monetary offer, it provides the quickest path to providing revenue and certainty to the District," Berman wrote. "The competing proposals are likely to require two to three years, or even longer if there are legal challenges, to obtain the required rezoning and demolition approvals." | Read the full recommendation

The Eugene City Council altered its offer to buy Civic Stadium in January, lowering the financial commitment the city wants from a private party before committing public dollars to buy the vacant historic wooden ballpark from the Eugene 4J School District, which owns the property.

The city had said a private party would need to commit $5.5 million to renovate and run the stadium.

On its part, the City has offered up $4.5 million in parks bond money to buy the structure.

In January, councilors dropped the private dollar figure from $5.5 million to $3 million.

Councilors also agreed to a 6 month timeline for those commitments to come in and another 3 months for the council to deliberate.

This is a developing story. Watch #LiveOnKVAL for more on this story