Alliance raises $4 million to save Civic Stadium

EUGENE, Ore. - First-grader Leo Rickard raised $84 by asking friends and family to chip in to save Civic Stadium in lieu of birthday gifts.

Leo's donation - and $4 million-worth of others like it - have put the Eugene Civic Alliance in a position to complete the purchase of Civic Stadium from the Eugene 4J School District, the City of Eugene announced Friday.

"This has been a huge community effort to try to preserve this property for the future use of the children in our community, so of course I'm pretty grateful," Mayor Kitty Piercy said Friday.

"I think we had a great group of people working with the Civic Alliance," said Bev Smith with Kidsports, part of the Alliance. "Any project of this magnitude is certainly difficult - and if it's awesome, it's never going to be easy."

Earlier this month, the City Council approved a proposed agreement with the Eugene Civic Alliance.

As part of that agreement, the City will contribute $412,000 for a 25,000 square foot pocket park on the west side of the stadium and about 16,000 square feet of a multi-use path that would run across the property.

The City of Eugene had won the right to buy the property, beating out a proposal by the Eugene YMCA and a developer working with retailer Fred Meyer. The losing bids proposed redeveloping the property in South Eugene.

But the city doesn't want to own the stadium, built in 1938 and enrolled on the National Register of Historic Places. The stadium is one of only 12 wooden ballparks left in the United States.

Instead, the city looked to partner with proponents of restoring the stadium.

The Eugene Civic Alliance plans to use the property for a sports and recreational facility that would include a field house for Kidsports, a turf field for professional soccer, and renovated grandstands for fans of soccer and other field sports.

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