PARK OPPOSES CROWN
The board, members and friends of the Yampa River Botanic Park oppose permitting Triple Crown to use the ball fields at Emerald Park. This letter is written in behalf of, and at the request of, the Board of Directors of the Yampa River Botanic Park Association, which in turn represents the members and friends of the Botanic Park, both local and resident elsewhere.
Please consider the following:
The outfields of the Emerald Park baseball fields are not much more than 100 feet from the Botanic Park, and the soccer fields are contiguous. We understand that Triple Crown has asked for the use of the Emerald fields. The shouts of the fans at the Ski Town ballfields can be heard more than a mile away. The enthusiastic crowds at Triple Crown will certainly destroy the serenity of the Botanic Park.
We understand that Triple Crown, once it got its foot in the door, would probably be using the fields from
7 a.m. to dark, Friday through Sunday for two weeks, and Wednesday through Sunday for four weeks each year. This would make "Music on the Green," held Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. impossible for four weeks, both for reasons of noise and because "Music on the Green" often overfills the parking lot, with as many as 600 music lovers attending some concerts.
Inherent in the concept of the Botanic Park is that it will, "... be a place of serenity and natural interest." This was enshrined in the bronze plaque placed in the Park by the City Council. The Park has been and continues to be the focus of great community efforts and resources, all based on the premise, and the promise by the city, that there would be no lights, no dugouts and no Triple Crown at Emerald Park. Emerald was conceived of, and is, a place for local kids to play soccer and baseball, and this has been perfectly compatible with the Botanic Park.
The land for the Botanic Park and its construction costs were gifted to the Park, and to the city by hundreds of people. Sculptures, benches, trees and countless volunteer hours have been given based on the notion of continued serenity. If the city were to break its promise, it would greatly reduce locals' and visitors' enthusiasm for the Botanic Park, as well as diminish the public's enthusiasm for future volunteer works, and diminish the Council in the eyes of the community.
The Park, the Chamber and Steamboat Brochure Delivery (gratis) gave out some 30,000 brochures in 2001. We do not charge admission and therefore do not know our attendance, but we do know that at least half of our visitors come from out-of-town. Some of these people come specifically to see the park because it has a growing national reputation as a cultural icon for Steamboat Springs. The park has only been open since 1997, but for the past two years it has been in "The Garden Tourist," a national guide to botanic parks; last year it was the subject of a double-page spread in "Colorado Gardener" and an editorial in The Denver Post; the previous year an article in "Steamboat" Magazine. There will be an article in May's "Sunset" magazine and we have been told the Park will be featured in an upcoming National Geographic guide to the West. Steamboat is getting much publicity and already some business from the Botanic Park. The coming of Triple Crown would be incompatible with the park's further growth as a serene cultural attraction. The park is starting to bring high-quality visitors in May and June, September and October, as well as in July and August. These people do not wear uniforms, do not destroy lodging rooms and do not book in blocks, so are less visible to the community. We have been told by visitors that they have been unable to bring friends and relatives to the Park in July and August because the hotels were blocked out by Triple Crown. We hope the Council will indicate to Triple Crown that Emerald Park is not on the table for the upcoming negotiations.
C. Robert Enever
President, Yampa River Botanic Park Association
ON THE MUELLERS
Mr. (Tom) Elliot chastises the Steamboat Pilot (Feb. 13) for not doing due diligence about the Muellers and their environmental record. Mr. Elliot, being almost 1,700 miles from Steamboat, knows very little what the Muellers are buying.
With the sale of the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation the assets include two small parcels of land which could be developed at the base of the ski area if the Muellers can satisfy the constraints of the City Planning Commission, the City Council, and the residents of Steamboat and Routt County.
While I was president of the Stratton Corporation in Vermont I can speak to the subject Mr. Elliot raises about the operational and environmental record of the Muellers in Vermont. My observation has been that the Muellers have done an outstanding job in providing great skiing and service to their guests. Any expansion and development permits they received from the state of Vermont were granted only after exhausting review by the Regional Environmental Board and the various governmental agencies.
Vermont has the strictest environmental development laws of any state of the union. These regional boards hold public hearings going on for months and sometimes lasting for days on a particular subject.
While I was working and living in Vermont, I observed that Okemo gained their expansion and development permits faster that any other ski resort. The reason is very simple. The Muellers are working with the environmental community and consider their input seriously. Their plans reflect the least impact on the land and nearby communities. They do what they say. I am sure that Mr. Elliot and his members of the Upper Valley Sierra Club have done some good work where they reside. It seems to me that his strategy in this case is to throw some mud on the wall and see what sticks. These issues should be left for the citizens of Steamboat and Routt County to decide. The Muellers deserve a warm and sincere welcome.
The reason the nearby towns distrust the idea of a regional affordable housing authority is that Steamboat will provide most of the funding and thus will end up in charge. Thus, a Steamboat controlled government authority will be condemning land where it is affordable, which is in the nearby towns and not in Steamboat, and building housing that may not be desired by many in that town.
Development affects a host of local government issues from law enforcement to water and sewer plants. Thus, allowing a regional authority to condemn land and develop affordable housing is dictating many decisions to that town. If Steamboat wants to use Hayden, Oak Creek and so on to solve its affordable housing problems then it would be more straightforward for Steamboat to expand it's city limits to annex those towns. What happened to the western end of Steamboat which was supposed to contain Steamboat's affordable housing? If Steamboat cannot develop affordable housing on its west side, then why should anyone expect it could do any better in nearby towns?