Earlier this week, 4J Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman recommended the sale of the Civic Stadium properties to the City of Eugene, over competing bids from Fred Meyer and the YMCA. A final decision by the 4J Board is still two weeks away. Wednesday night, Board members heard community response to the recommendation.
One dating back to 2002 when the Civic Stadium properties were first declared to be surplus by the 4j School District. If Superintendent Berman gets his way, the District could be rid of the 1930s era stadium before the end of the year. The City’s $4.5 million purchase offer is predicated on many factors, including community fundraising. But for School Board Member Jim Torrey, it still has the other two proposals beat.
Torrey: “I’m convinced that the city’s bid provides the highest degree of predictability.”
Public support for a sale to the city seems to be high. All but two of the 13 community members who addressed the board supported the proposal – the only one that could save the stadium and field.
South Eugene High School Soccer Coach Jurgen Ruckaberle said sport fields are in high demand in Eugene.
Ruckaberle: “There are not just children who play soccer. There are lots of adults that play in city leagues, they play in recreational leagues, they play in Latino leagues… There are literally hundreds of those groups around that compete for the field space in Eugene.”
Several speakers included hopeful caveats that the City would then turn around and sell at least part of the property to the YMCA. Among them was Susan Walsh.
Walsh: “There’s no reason that this vision that seems almost utopic can’t happen. We can create a beautiful mecca for children and families in this community on this parcel.”
The 4J Board is still taking public comment on the recommendation. It will make a final decision at its February 19th meeting.