Editorial Board, May 2008 to August 2008
- Bryna Larsen, publisher
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Mike Lawrence, city editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- Eric Morris, community representative
- Paul Draper, community representative
Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or email@example.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
Steamboat Springs Short of an alternate solution, the Steamboat Springs City Council should allow Triple Crown Sports limited use of Emerald Park fields in the summers of 2009 and 2010.
According to a proposal that went before the City Council last week, Triple Crown would be permitted to schedule youth baseball and softball games at Emerald Park from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a three-week period during the span of two summers. Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said Triple Crown's use of Emerald Park would be for those two summers only. Other field options, including Hayden's Dry Creek Park, could be available for use by 2011.
Critics of the proposal say allowing Triple Crown teams to use Emerald Park would pose safety and traffic concerns along residential Pamela Lane, keep local children and teams from using the fields, and disturb the peace at adjacent Yampa River Botanic Park. Many also cite a decade-old promise from a previous City Council and others that Emerald Park would be for community use only.
We understand those concerns, but we also believe there is room for compromise.
Pamela Lane provides the only vehicular access to Emerald Park, and we sympathize with residents' concerns about increased traffic through their neighborhood.
Under one of the proposals, the four teams that would be scheduled to play on the Emerald Park fields would remain there throughout the six-hour time slot, playing games against one another and thereby limiting the number and frequency of vehicular traffic into and out of the park. Evans Hall said the Chamber has suggested issuing a limited number of parking passes to each team, which would promote carpooling and off-site parking. Shuttle buses and vans also could be used to transport players, equipment and families. The impact of the weekday traffic would presumably be less than existing traffic for weekend soccer and lacrosse tournaments, or the dozens of weekend weddings at the Botanic Park each summer.
The notion that allowing Triple Crown games for six hours a day, four days a week for three weeks would keep local children from using those fields is unfounded. The truth is those fields are rarely used from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Furthermore, local sports organizations such as the Little League have signed off on the Triple Crown proposal and say their teams won't be negatively impacted by the additional use.
The concerns from Yampa River Botanic Park also are overblown. The fields would not be used Thursdays, to ensure quiet during the Botanic Park's weekly Music on the Green concerts. Again, the Triple Crown proposal is only six hours a day, four days a week for just three weeks of the summer. The Botanic Park - no doubt a treasure to the community - is open from daylight to dark from spring until the first heavy snow of late fall.
Finally, there's the issue of the previous promise from City Council. It's simply not reasonable for an elected body to be beholden to unwritten promises made by previous elected bodies. Times and circumstances change, and our elected officials must be allowed to make decisions they believe are in the best interest of the entire community. This two-year contract extension with Triple Crown is such a decision.
As we've said before, Triple Crown is an important part of our summer economy. For 10 weeks each summer, the sports tournaments bring thousands of visitors to our city. Those visitors stay in our hotels and condos, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. While we believe the total revenue generated by Triple Crown to be relatively small compared to what is generated by winter tourism and locals, it is nonetheless a necessary revenue producer absent other major events.
Now is not the time to jeopardize summer sales tax revenues. Ski Time Square will be razed during the next few months to make way for a major multi-year redevelopment of the area. Downtown already is in the midst of a significant transformation with the construction of several large multiuse developments. There are fears the national economy is heading toward a recession.
Until our community establishes a clear vision and strategy for our year-round economy, it simply doesn't make sense to drive away a proven commodity such as Triple Crown.