Sports complexes at bat

Officials review design options for Triple Crown ballparks

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The number of possible sites for a new sports complex in Northwest Colorado has been narrowed to two, and architects have created preliminary designs for both.

Hayden officials, as well as officials from the business, economic development and sports communities, met Tuesday to view the designs, created by the Greeley firm SportsOne.

One possible sports complex site, owned by Mary Brown, jumped into contention last month. The other potential site, called The Villages at Hayden, is owned by Ron Sills. Sills has said he is willing to donate the land and water for the site.

Officials in Hayden also were considering a third site in Hayden. It is no longer in the running because the owners have house-building plans that would be incompatible with the complex, said Sandy Evans-Hall of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Mike Walker of SportsOne, along with Triple Crown President Dave King, joined the meeting by conference call because of concerns with traveling in inclement weather.

Triple Crown's contracts with the city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association expire in 2007. King said in August that his summer sports organization would leave Steamboat if no new fields were built in the area.

The concepts for both properties included a championship complex with a baseball field, a softball field, a multi-use field, parking spaces and a building for uses such as concessions and restrooms.

The Brown property, which is smaller than the Hayden property, also would include seven baseball or softball fields, five championship multi-use fields, a concession building, a complex maintenance facility and 480 parking spaces. The design also includes a nature area with a small stage, hiking trails and opportunities for other recreation, such as sledding.

The Sills property, in addition to the championship complex, also would have 14 baseball or softball fields, 11 multi-use fields, a concession building, a complex maintenance facility and 816 parking spaces.

King said he supported use of both sites but that the Brown complex design did not meet all of Triple Crown's needs.

"The fields are too few at this point in time," he said. "It's a little small for our major events."

King also said he was concerned that Triple Crown officials would have more scheduling conflicts with other organizations if the complex were on the Brown property, which is closer to Steamboat.

Rick Garth said it was unlikely that soccer tournaments would move out of Steamboat and into Hayden.

"I don't see putting on a whole tournament in Hayden," he said.

Officials agreed that they didn't necessarily need a championship complex, but they would like to keep a synthetic field in the mix. They also did not see lights on the fields as a necessity, but they said that one field with lights would add extra games to schedules.

Officials also wanted both designs to include amenities such as a playground or play area for younger children, a pavilion, an indoor building with phone hookups and medical supplies, more picnic areas and trails looping around the complex.

SportsOne will alter the designs to meet the requests before the next meeting, which is scheduled for mid-December. Evans-Hall said she hopes to have the designs ready to present to the public for comment in January.

Walker said the comments would help him create a design to meet several user groups.

"I think we're getting really close to something that everybody's going to be happy with, actually."

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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