Sports complex talks progress

Regional officials preparing for public presentations

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Officials are getting closer to preparing a series of public presentations about the possibility of a new sports complex in Northwest Colorado.

Hayden and Steamboat Springs officials, as well as officials from the economic development and sports communities, met Wednesday to share their thoughts about what the public meetings should entail. The officials plan to meet again in a month.

Officials decided Wednesday that the public meetings should include information about funding strategies for building and operating the complex, which likely would include numerous baseball, softball and multi-use fields. They also want to have an independent party study the possible benefits and effects of a complex. Other issues include the potential growth that a complex could bring to the Yampa Valley and the effects of traffic and parking.

Two sites are in the running for the complex; one is south of Hayden and is called Hayden Village. The property is owned by Ron Sills, who has said he is willing to donate the land and water for the site. The second site, owned by Mary Brown, is west of Steamboat Springs. The firm SportsOne has created preliminary designs for both sites.

Officials discussed briefly Wednesday the advantages and disadvantages of each site. Using the Brown property would cost more because the land would have to be purchased; a rough estimate is about $6 million. The land purchase would come in addition to the estimated $7.9 million it could take to build the complex. Building on the Hayden property could cost about $9.3 million.

Another disadvantage of the Brown property is that it is within the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan boundary, officials said Wednesday. The plan defines strategies for growth and development in the area west of town, and a sports complex is not part of the existing plan.

A disadvantage of the Hayden site, officials said, is that it is outside Steamboat Springs. Triple Crown Sports President Dave King, however, said his organization would not be negatively affected by the driving distance between Steamboat and Hayden.

Triple Crown's contracts with the city of Steamboat and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association expire next year. King has said that his summer sports organization, which hosts numerous youth and adult baseball and softball tournaments, will leave Steamboat if new fields aren't built in the area. King later said that he is merely a catalyst to move field development in the region forward.

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