The Medford City Council will consider two items related to the future of Howard Memorial Sports Park on its Thur., April 2 regular meeting agenda.
The Council is asked to approve a ground lease of the 53.38 acres on the corner of Ross Lane and Rossanley Drive in west Medford, along with a conditional option to purchase the property.
City staff worked with the Howard Memorial Sports Park (HMSP) board of directors to craft a five-year ground lease agreement through June 1, 2025, with three five-year extension options, that would allow the City of Medford to maintain existing amenities and to develop new recreational facilities and features.
The proposed agreement provides the City of Medford space to build, manage and maintain the proposed Medford Sports and Events Complex at HMSP, and to develop additional ballfields and a neighborhood park in keeping with adopted goals and levels-of-service outlined in the City’s Leisure Services Plan (LSP).
The HMSP board views the partnership with the City of Medford as the overall best and only near-term opportunity to see the property developed in accordance with Wes Howard’s wishes. Howard’s January 2003 Will outlined his desire to see his property operated as a “sports field training and competition complex for athletes in the Rogue Valley.” Further, the HMSP articles of incorporation state the board of directors shall “Develop and operate sports facilities … for the purpose of providing said facilities to members of the community.”
The ground lease is beneficial to the City because it:
- Gives permission to the City to make improvements on the property and to initiate the Conditional Use Permit process for park and recreation facility development.
- Serves as an optimal location for the proposed 163,000-square-foot Sports and Events Complex, with ample room for expansion.
- Helps the City’s acquisition goal of obtaining 57 acres of community parkland by 2026 in order to keep up with projected population growth.
- Allows the City to obtain two existing natural-grass soccer fields, and space for an additional five fields.
- Provides over 53 acres of prime parkland for the low cost of $1,000 per year, including space for a neighborhood park in a currently underserved area of the City.
As a companion agreement, the HMSP Board is providing the City an exclusive option to purchase the park property for $100 on or by June 1, 2025, or within the timeframe provided by extensions to the ground lease.
If approved, the option to purchase is contingent upon the City’s substantial completion of HMSP development efforts, and the state’s Attorney General not opposing the transfer of land based on the private foundation’s articles of incorporation.
The April 2 City Council meeting will be conducted electronically. Citizens wishing to comment on the agenda items may submit testimony by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org