YMCA, Fred Meyer up the ante for Eugene Civic Stadium

EUGENE, Ore. - Both the Eugene YMCA and a developer working with retailer Fred Meyer upped the ante Wednesday as the parties vie for the Eugene Civic Stadium site, which the Eugene 4J School District plans to sell or lease.

"We will never win a bidding war," said Julie Grossman, associated director of the Eugene Family YMCA. "But that's not our intention. Our intention is to do what's right for the community and provide the school district with the financial benefit that they need to see by this."

The YMCA on Wednesday offered an additional $500,000 to cover permitting and demolition costs, something 4J officials in a public meeting said they were not interested in paying.

"Finances are going to be a top priority for them, so we took on as much as we could," Grossman said.

The YMCA's plan includes an achievement center for 4J students. The land would be split with a housing development, generating new tax revenues for the city.

The developer working with Fred Meyer also touts the benefits of their plan to the city and school district. The proposal to lease the land with an option to buy was ranked highest by the district on strictly financial considerations.

"Over half a million dollars a year, every year," said Peter Powell of Powell Development.

Powell said a Fred Meyer store would increase revenues up to the state level through either a puchasing option for $5 million, or a lease, which Powell said could potentially bring the district $20 million over 20 years.

The school district plans to make a decision February 19.

The Fred Meyer group said they have offered to either co-locate on the site with the YMCA or give the group $1 million to locate elsewhere. YMCA officials said they had heard of the offers through news reports but had not been approached by the developer or retailer - and probably aren't interested.

A third suitor - the City of Eugene - has made an offer to buy the property contingent on an as-yet unknown private party paying to renovate the grandstands and operate Civic as a stadium.

An offer by the Friends of Civic Stadium to essentially take the land off the district's hands for a symbolic amount was already rejected by the school board.