'Our aspiration is to go ahead and start building here'

EUGENE, Ore. - The new designs are done.

The budget is in place.

For the Eugene Civic Alliance, it's time to do some serious fundraising.

The non-profit group is starting the big push to raise $30 million to transform the former Civic Stadium site into Civic Park, a multi-sport stadium and filed with an indoor youth sports center for Kidsports.

"As of right now we are limited in our indoor space when it gets dark and it gets rainy," said Bev Smith with Kidsports. "It is very difficult to play, have enough space for all of our teams, all of our kids."

This wasn't the original plan for the Civic Alliance.

The need for a new design arose from the arson fire that destroyed historic Eugene Civic Stadium in June 2015.

Organizers said they'll go after big donors and grants from groups like the Oregon Community Foundation.

"They said if we could raise $100,000, they would match it," said Derek Johnson from the Civic Park leadership committee. "We did that. In fact, we raised $112,000 over the course of about 2 months."

As Civic Park takes shapes, organizers want to use pieces of the old Civic Stadium, like the beams that once held up the lights that lit up the stadium.

And they don't want the process to drag out.

"Our aspiration is to go ahead and start building here, put the construction project in place starting in late August or early September of 2017," Johnson said.

While short on money, the group is not short on optimism.

"The people in this community, when they see a project that is of this worth to the community, they're generous," Johnson said. "We're looking forward to going out and talking to people."

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