Hayden may get sports complex

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— If a new sports complex is built in Northwest Colorado, there are two chances it will be near Hayden.

Steamboat Springs, Hayden and area officials met Thursday to discuss possible sites for a sports complex that would be used by Triple Crown Sports and area residents.

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

Officials decided Thursday to hire a consultant to study two sites near Hayden.

The owner of one parcel, which is south of town and called Villages at Hayden, said he would donate the land and water necessary for the complex. Ron Sills said he would use water from wells on land he owns to create three lakes for the complex. Water from the lakes could be used for the fields, Sills said.

The other site, called the East Hayden River Parcel, is across the railroad tracks from a neighborhood. The owner would consider selling the land, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said, but officials would need to buy it soon, because the owner is considering building a house there.

Officials ruled out two other sites in the Craig and Steamboat Springs areas because the owners were not willing to sell. One other Steamboat-area site, the Stanko parcel, has a conservation easement in place. Because plans for a golf course expansion were denied for that property, officials do not think a complex would be approved. Still, they plan to look into purchasing the site.

King and Jeff Kroeger, director of landscape architecture for the Greeley-based firm Sports One, visited the Hayden sites Thursday. King said he liked both of them, and he did not specify a preference.

"I think they could be strong sports complex locations," he said.

Kroeger said both sites would be OK for the 16- to 24-field complex, but he thought the Villages site would be easier to work with because the land and water would be donated.

King reiterated that he would like to see site plans for a complex within the next few months.

If Plan A -- full development of a complex in the area -- doesn't happen, King said, he'll start looking at Plan B -- taking Triple Crown elsewhere.

King and the Chamber each gave $2,000 to hire SportsOne to create conceptual master plans for both sites, which would include sketches that could be used for fundraising purposes. Martin and Steamboat City Manager Paul Hughes said they would go back to city officials to see whether they would give money for the master plans.

The plans, which would cost between $6,000 and $8,000, should be finished by the next meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Holiday Inn.

Also by next month, officials hope to speak with others who may be interested in a complex to see what kind of facilities would be of use to them. That includes people who play volleyball, Little League, lacrosse, soccer and rugby, said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber. She said officials also will investigate other possible uses for the complex, such as making it a concert venue and whether it could provide winter recreation opportunities.

"We're putting all the ideas into the concept so we can design a facility for all of Northwest Colorado," she said.

Although King thinks the Hayden sites are good locations for the complex, other land still could be added to the mix.

For a site to qualify, it should be annexable for Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Oak Creek or other area towns and cities, Evans Hall said. A good site would have access to public water and sewer service as well as a major arterial road.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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