Triple Crown contract reached

Five-year deal will include number of stipulations

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— Triple Crown and the Steamboat Springs negotiating committee have reached a contract agreement.

Sandy Evans-Hall, executive vice-president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said late Wednesday afternoon that an agreement had been reached for the renewal of a five-year contract.

The current contract expires in October.

The agreement pinned down three of the major concerns shared by local residents and business owners:

n The city will not make a direct payment to Triple Crown, but instead use $75,000 for field improvements.

n The use of the Emerald Park fields will not be considered until a second access is built.

n Triple Crown will not grow in Steamboat and will focus on youth tournaments.

"I am pleased with all of those factors," said Kathy Connell, who advised the negotiating committee. "Dave King (Triple Crown founder) had to make many concessions."

Before it is finalized, the contract will have to pass the approval of the City Council. The first reading is expected at Tuesday's council meeting.

The agreement comes after months of controversy in which local residents spoke out against the tourist impact of Triple Crown, and Pamela Lane residents raised concerns over Emerald Park traffic.

But Connell said Triple Crown opponents are just a small majority of Steamboat residents.

"A small group opposes Triple Crown, but larger groups need Triple Crown. Our goal is to balance (the sides) carefully and decide," she said.

Locals like Omar Campbell disagree with Connell and would like to see the decision taken to a vote.

"Why don't we find out from the public with a vote," Campbell said. "Having (Triple Crown) here is a huge impact. It is a five-year contract and I just think it is so important that people need to decide rather than businesses and council."

Campbell will appear before the council Tuesday requesting the Triple Crown contract be put to a vote either Aug. 13 or Nov. 5.

Evans-Hall said two contract agreements exist: one between the city and Triple Crown detailing the use of fields and facilities, and the other being the sponsorship agreement between the chamber and Triple Crown.

As the city stated two months ago, it will not being giving any money directly to Triple Crown.

The $75,000 it had been paying to the organization will be put into the upkeep and upgrade of the fields.

The proposal has the chamber taking over the sponsorship fee, which had been shared with the city paying $75,000 and the chamber paying $25,000. Evans-Hall said the exact amount the chamber is paying will be determined today at the chamber board meeting.

She said it will not be any more than the total $100,000 the city and chamber had been paying, it will just come in a different form.

Evans-Hall said Triple Crown would also be giving $15,000 a year for field maintenance or a development for the community's benefit.

"Our biggest goal was to improve our fields and to do that for the community," Evans-Hall said.

The agreement will not give Triple Crown current use of Emerald Park. Evans-Hall said Emerald Park is off the table until a second access is completed, and if that happens then the use of Emerald Park will be reviewed each December.

The contract agreement gives Triple Crown use of the fields it is currently using at Howelsen Hill, Ski Town Sports Complex and Strawberry Park.

But Evans-Hall said a clause has been put in the contract that would allow the negotiating committee to revisit what fields are used every December if more are built or Emerald Park's second access is constructed.

Connell said the finalized agreement does not take away the problem of too much traffic coming through Pamela Lane and into Emerald Park.

The city has looked at building a second access, which would cost between $450,000 and $4 million.

The Triple Crown tournament will also not expand, Evans-Hall said, and will be focused around youth events.

She said just two adult softball tournaments will be scheduled in Steamboat, one over July 4 weekend and one in August.

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