Sandy Evans Hall: Chamber encourages ideas

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In response to Jonathan Kaplan's Letter to the editor on Wednesday, March 29:

Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and poignant letter.

At this point, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association has participated on a steering committee to investigate the possibility of building a sports complex in Northwest Colorado. The committee has solicited the communities for plausible spaces, narrowed the field to two locations and hired Sports One, a Fort Collins-based company that designs sports complexes, to draw up the plans for a complex specific to those areas.

For several months, the steering committee has met on this subject. The committee is a group representative of several interest groups, including city officials and parks and recreation staff from Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Craig, along with representatives from activities including Steamboat Youth Soccer and lacrosse, men's rugby, Triple Crown Sports and the Steamboat Springs School District. Other members of the local business community also have been involved. In these meetings we've asked their input on the plans as well as determining the usage of these fields. All of which we know is preliminary, as the intention is to present these ideas to the community as a whole in order to receive more feedback on the plausibility of a Sports Complex as an economic benefit to our community and surrounding communities.

The extent of economic benefit will be a part of an independent study to be funded by the communities in Northwest Colorado. This study will be an important resource as we make decisions in the future.

Mr. Kaplan, we wish to commend you for your comments, and for taking an active role in this process. We hope citizens like you will step up to speak on behalf of our community.

You also bring up a good point that our community is lacking an arts facility that could be used by residents and visitors alike. Groups like the Emerald City Opera, Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra, and other performances by Ski Town Productions and Cabaret would have an appropriate venue for these performances.

At this time, the investigation of a sports complex is largely because of the impending contract with Triple Crown Sports. This group brings in an estimated $10 million during the span of 40 days in the summertime. Building a complex would ensure this steady income, which directly benefits local restaurants, shops and lodging and thereto benefits other local businesses indirectly. It also would continue to build a healthy sales tax base, which in turn benefits our community.

However, that is not to say that the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the businesses it represents would not be open to the ideas of community members like you, who could bring forth entities to attract other groups in the summer to compliment or replace the business brought here by Triple Crown Sports.

We encourage you and other concerned members of the community to continue to investigate these types of facilities, and the groups they would attract that could have a positive impact on our community and our economy, and to present such ideas to the Chamber. As well, we encourage those who have an interest in the Northwest Colorado Sports Complex to attend an upcoming public forum.

Sandy Evans Hall

Executive vice president, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association

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