Keep historic stadium in public ownership
By Lonnie McCulloch
Who should own Civic Stadium? With the 4J School Board preparing to sell our historic Civic Stadium, the question becomes a rather important one for those of us who don’t want to see our beloved ballpark demolished. Honoring its memory with a display of home plate in the lobby is not the same as seeing the summer full moon rising over center field.
Should Civic continue to be owned by the public, with its management accountable directly to the voters? Should it be owned by the YMCA, who may pledge to make it available for organizations such as KidSports, but would have no binding obligation to do so? Or should it be demolished and replaced with apartments or some other commercial function?
In deciding the future of Civic, the 4J Board has said that the purchase price is not the only deciding factor. That is encouraging to hear; I hope it is not just rhetoric. The question I would like to see the board and the community discuss is this: Who can own Civic and manage it in a way that provides the community with a family-friendly venue that is well maintained and well utilized by present and future generations?
I believe the answer is Lane Community College. I believe in public ownership of Civic Stadium, and LCC could benefit greatly by owning it. Beyond being a great home field for the Titans, its rehabilitation could be an opportunity for many of its apprenticeship programs. The concessions could provide revenue for various campus organizations, not to mention a real-world outlet for the creativity of the culinary arts department. It could be a great venue for graduation ceremonies, outdoor concerts and summer theater. I could go on and on.
A market/feasibility re-use study, such as the one being proposed by Save Civic Stadium (SCS), is needed to make the best decision possible. The 4J Board has agreed to give SCS until June to accomplish this study but was unwilling to provide any funding.
This puts SCS in a difficult spot. If they are going to have the report completed in a timely manner, that re-use study needs to be started within about a month. More money is needed to contract the study, and very soon. This situation is urgent.
It appears the city of Eugene may be willing to commit some funding for this. I would hope that LCC would consider supporting this study as well, and I urge them to consider doing so at their March 10 meeting. But they cannot be expected to pick up the rest of the tab.
It is time for the community to show their support and commitment to Civic Stadium. There is an urgent need to raise roughly $30,000 in 30 days.
Whether you believe that Civic should be saved or demolished, whether you think Civic should be owned by LCC or the YMCA, or somebody else, if you can afford to donate, please do so. Go to www.SaveCivicStadium.org to learn more.
If you think LCC should consider purchasing Civic, contact them before their March 10 meeting, and ask them to provide funding for the re-use study.
The time is fast approaching to make a decision about the future of our historic Civic Stadium. Let’s make that decision using the best information available by funding the market study being proposed by SCS.
Lonnie L. McCulloch grew up in Crow and attended both LCC and UO, earning a degree in the Planning, Public Policy and Management program. He is associated with Save Civic Stadium but writes as an individual. A 4J survey on Civic is now online at http://wkly.ws/y