Steamboat Springs Area officials are eyeing three sites as possible locations for a sports complex.
One site west of Steamboat Springs is new to the mix. Property owner Mary Brown has expressed "high interest" in making a 580-acre parcel available for the complex, Triple Crown President Dave King said Thursday in a meeting of sports, business, government and economic development officials.
Brown could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Two other parcels in or near Hayden have been considered for at least a month. Ron Sills, owner of one parcel south of town called Villages at Hayden, said he would donate the land and water necessary for a complex.
The other site is the East Hay--den River Parcel and is across railroad tracks from a neighborhood. Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said Thursday that the owner is willing to sell the land but expects to build a house on it next year.
King, who visited all three sites, did not identify a favorite. He said an advantage of the Brown parcel is its proximity to Steamboat Springs lodging facilities. A disadvantage, he said, would be the cost of purchasing and developing the site. Both Hayden sites would meet Triple Crown's needs, he said.
Triple Crown's contracts with the city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Cha--mber Resort Association expire in 2007. In August, King said his summer sports organization would leave Steamboat if no new fields were built in the area. On Thursday, King said he is "a catalyst to move field development in this region forward.
"That's good for lots of people," he said.
Those who attended the meeting agreed to have the Greeley firm SportsOne create designs for all three sites. The designs would allow residents to decide about the look and possible uses of a complex at each location, officials said. King also suggested that officials present residents with a mock schedule for use of the complex so they could see the range of activities it could accommodate.
Another focus of Thursday's meeting was to get input from potential users of the complex, which would accommodate a variety of sports and activities.
Rick Garth of the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association and Neil Redfern of Steamboat Youth Lacrosse said they support the addition of fields to the valley but that they weren't sure how much they would use a complex if it were in or near Hayden.
Garth said he thinks teams that attend soccer tournaments in the region prefer staying in Steamboat and playing on fields in the same town. A complex in Hayden, he said, may require too much of a drive for families attending multiple games in a day.
"I'm not trying to be negative, but it's not an automatic fit for a mountain soccer tournament from a logistical point of view," Garth said. "It just wouldn't be as enjoyable an experience."
King said his staff thought a new complex would be enjoyable.
"The quality of the facility has a bearing with their experience when they arrive," King said.
Garth said he would be willing to endorse selling Steamboat soccer fields for development if the Brown parcel were chosen for the complex.
Garth also said there were advantages to having a tournament at one site. Tournament officials could consolidate volunteers and medical services, he said.
Redfern said the Memorial Day weekend lacrosse event uses about five fields, and he does not think he would use a complex in Hayden.
However, Redfern said he would be excited about the addition of artificial-turf fields to the area.
"I'd throw my kitchen sink in support of this thing if it had an artificial-turf field, no matter where it is," he said.
Redfern said if there were two or three artificial-turf fields, the lacrosse organization would be more likely to schedule time there.
Also attending the meeting was Donna Howell, superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District. She said the district is challenged by the need for space and fields for sports teams.
Ernie Jenkins, parks supervisor for Steamboat Springs, said the city's fields often are booked and that some potential users must be turned away.
Other potential uses of the complex include track, cross country, motor sports, winter sports, horseshoe pits, an amphitheater and walking and bike paths.