Eugene stadium fans get a chance to save it

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A nonprofit group has been given a chance to save Eugene’s Civic Stadium, but there’s skepticism it can raise $3 million in the next six months to renovate the Depression-era ballpark.

The School Board has chosen a proposal from the Friends of Civic Stadium over proposals to tear down the structure to make way for a Fred Meyer supermarket and shopping center or for a YMCA and housing.

The City Council put up the $4.5 million purchase price - on the condition that the nonprofit raise $3 million for rehabilitating the former home of the minor league Emeralds.

The nonprofit set out in November to raise money, hoping to hit $1 million in a few weeks, the Eugene Register-Guard (http://bit.ly/1edJxfd ) reported.

As of Thursday, the fundraiser had attracted “just under $200,000,” said Dennis Hebert, president of Friends of Civic Stadium. But the school board’s decision this week to take the city’s offer should make it easier to attract donations, he said.

Others are dubious.

“I don’t have my hopes up at all,” said Councilman George Poling, who opposed using proceeds from a parks bond issue for the purchase.

“All I’ve ever heard is talk about big money people with deep pockets coming forward, but nobody has mentioned any names. So I am skeptical if it will occur. I will be very surprised if it does,” he said.

School board members said that saving the stadium was attractive, but so was the prospect of getting the money quickly. Redeveloping the property could be subject to land-use disputes that could delay closing a sale, some members said.

The San Diego Padres moved its minor league affiliate from Civic Stadium in 2010, and now a soccer team wants to use the park.

But a fully renovated stadium will cost more than $3 million, said Ron Crasilneck, secretarytreasurer of United Stadium Group, which wants to lease the stadium for its affiliated Lane United FC soccer team. And the full renovation is likely to take several years to complete, he said.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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