Jim Engelken: Assumptions false

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— Columnist Rob Douglas weighed in on the Triple Crown access to Emerald Park debate last Thursday with a number of false assumptions. I don't know where Rob got his information about what I said to City Council at their meeting on the subject, but he clearly wasn't in attendance.

Emerald Park was built for local youths because Triple Crown had taken over every other park in town that had ball fields and the locals were left with no place left to play. The residents of Pamela Lane asked for an alternative access to the park out of concern for traffic and parking issues. After much debate and consideration of a number of expensive options, the council decided to leave the access on Pamela Lane. It was a bad decision, and I am not the only member of that 1996 council to say so publicly. Indeed, in 2001 City Council gave direction to staff to bring the whole question of access back for reconsideration. By then, I had moved to Pamela Lane and took no part in giving that direction.

Recognizing that Emerald Park was for local youth sports and in an effort to appease the residence of Pamela Lane, the 1996 City Council unanimously made a very public promise that Emerald Park would be forever off limits to Triple Crown. That didn't stop Triple Crown from asking for access anyway and were told no in 1998 and again in 2002.

That history has been completely absent in this most recent effort by the Chamber Resort Association to gain access to Emerald Park for Triple Crown. Per standard city process, the Parks and Recreation Commission held a hearing on the topic to advise the City Council. Despite months of discussion between the city, the Chamber and Triple Crown, no notice of the meeting was given to either the residents of Pamela Lane or the board of directors at the Botanic Park. The official city staff report written for the Commission was written by Sandy Evans Hall, the applicant! Naturally, the history of this issue was not in the report. I pointed all of this out to the Parks and Recreation Commission, but they carried on as if it were standard operating procedure. I assure you, it didn't use to be.

When the issue went before City Council, once again the history of the park, previous efforts by the Chamber and Triple Crown to gain access to it, and the promises made by City Council and upheld by two subsequent councils were nowhere to be found in the staff report. I did not, as Rob Douglas accuses, "demand" that City Council uphold past promises. I did suggest that 12 years worth of history including the promises made by previous councils were relevant to the discussion and should not be ignored.

I believe the integrity of the city as a whole should be questioned when applicants are allowed to write staff reports. I am angry that there appears to be an effort to keep Pamela Lane residents and Botanic Park board members out of the discussion by not giving notice of meetings or in the case of this last City Council meeting, four days notice. When is the Chamber and its allies at City Hall going to realize that it's not just the people that profit from Steamboat Springs that deserve a place at the table but also the people that live here?

One more thought. According to the information in the City Council packet, Triple Crown is scheduled to bring 825 teams to the area this summer. Are we to believe that Triple Crown will pack all of them to a new location if they are told they can't have Emerald Park for 12 days? This is about getting a foot in the door. This is about the next contract extension that will require full use of Emerald Park.

Jim Engelken

Steamboat Springs

Comments

elk2 6 years, 6 months ago

Amen Jim!!! Wish you were in city government again.

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scooter 6 years, 6 months ago

And Rob Douglas seems to have "foot in mouth"...

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addlip2U 6 years, 6 months ago

"The official city staff report written for the Commission was written by Sandy Evans Hall, the applicant!"

Interesting that the Chamber is the applicant.

Sandy Evans Hall and her team have a task to promote Steamboat to other, less invasive and more appreciative tourists. Instead the Chamber waits 'till Triple Crown whine and threatens to pull out and than she plea to the City Council that they did not have enough time to promote Steamboat.

C'mon Chamber, this scenario is getting old.

Sandy Evans Hall aka Chamber, should but does not represent the majority of this community on this issue. Get off your lazy horse; create and promote venues to attract tourists that show respect to the valley and appreciate the nature without bringing so much noise, trash, traffic and rudeness to our friendly locals. Or we won't be friendly anymore.....

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kielyj 6 years, 6 months ago

Triple Crown was after Emerald Park before the construction was complete. They have been after it ever since. They have received support from the Chamber each time they requested access. Advocates of the proposal can't understand why anyone could object to just 12 days use. How can anyone believe that the contract with Triple Crown depends on just 12 days access to the park? TC has an investment in town also. Why spend all this effort and generate all this ill will for 12 days? Giving up the sanctuary of the park would be the first step on a slippery slope that ends with commercialization. The City Council has always backed the locals use agreement on the park. It seems that this council is seriously considering violating the agreements. If they do so it would represent a serious breach of faith.

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colobob 6 years, 6 months ago

There was a time when you could take folks at their word. Of course that was before all the $$ rolled into town. The saying that "promises were made to be broken," seems to be the theme of the day. As I said in an earlier post SB is a major attraction for the participants of TC. Without the 'Boat as their venue TC would not have the following that they do. Threatening to pull out of Steamboat is nothing more than a strong arm tactic. Isn't it about time people called their bluff. If they come back in two years and declare that they are adding 100 new teams what then? How about 200? Where is the saturation point and at what cost. Are locals no longer important as long as there is a dollar to be made? When does quality of life become important, when there is none left? And finally when does the ever present threat to pull out if we can't play here or if we can't play there grow old? It was agreed that Emerald was for local use and that it was off limits to TC. Well it's time to anti-up folks. It's time for the Chamber and the Council to honor their commitment to the residents of this community. Let TC come but let them realize that Steamboat is about more than just dollars and cents and that it's also about the folks that live here. All the folks, not just the ones that stand to gain the most monetarily.

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Humma_Kavula 6 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Engelken to me YOU failed when you were on city council to implement an alternate access to Emerald Park to relieve the traffic on Pamela Lane from the local groups that use the park.

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stmbtprof 6 years, 6 months ago

Jim...you have always been voice of reason and the only one who truly spoke for voice of locals while you were on the council..what you are saying now is so true...unfortunately Stmbt has changed and now it is all about the money whether use of emeraldPark or Health and Rec... Thanks for your intellect and insight

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btheball 6 years, 6 months ago

Parks and Rec Department/Commission are notorious for these shady shenanigans. Is anyone ever held accountable anymore?

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