Our View: Allow use of Emerald park


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 editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— 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.


fish 9 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone one surprised that the sheep at the SP&T would come out in favor of allowing Triple Crown to use the fields at Emerald?


addlip2U 9 years, 1 month ago

TC is a business. If this business need more fields, have them purchase the real estate, build the fields, maintain them, police the traffic, etc.
We the citizens of Steamboat are not responsible for their needs, and if they don't like what we offer, leave.

Would the Chamber give me the land and build me a swimming pool so that I can bring national teams for competition to be held 10 weeks per year?


ColoradoNative 9 years, 1 month ago

I think the people of Steamboat need to make a stand. I agree with you stirrinuptrouble. Sure it's "only one ball field" but what is next? Are they going to ask that the rec center be closed to the public for a few days while their teams work out there? Enough is enough.

The opinion of an editor or whoever wrote this article is not reflective of the people of Steamboat.

Put this issue to a vote of the people. Putting duct tape on a problem isn't going to fix it.


panky 9 years, 1 month ago

This is an issue that the SP&T should stay out of. At least we have another example of their taking a side against the local residents and siding with business.

Rob Douglas made it clear last week how the paper stood on this issue. We don't need to see it again. Putting a negative spin on Jim Englekin won't help your cause, Rob.

If any of the editorial staff lived on Pamela Lane I guarantee you they would not feel that way about TC using those fields.


MtnWarlock 9 years, 1 month ago

This sounds like the ole; give an inch, take a mile, thing! Temporary fixes usually turn into permanent solutions. I guess what gets me in this "politics as usual" scenario! Emerald Park was built on the promise that tax dollars used to build that park would be utilized for our local use only! Now, because of the popularity of Triple Crown and the lack of planning and pro-activeness of the city to accommodate Triple Crown and develop more fields or a sports complex, they are having to scramble for space at a last ditch effort to accommodate Triple Crown at the cost of breaking promises made to "us" the tax payer! This puts the city in another "pie in the face" situation with the local general public and Triple Crown! I think that if the city allows Triple Crown to use these fields, they will see major resistance on any taxpayer backed initiatives and promises in the future, and that may jeopardize future progress of the city for further developments and elections for city council! It's unfortunate that we may have to breach promises to the taxpaying local again, to accommodate for our tourist guests! However, I can't say that Triple Crown never has committed to use Steamboat as its desired destination indefinitely. They can pack up the house and move whenever they please, as far as I know! Maybe it's easy to speculatively say; that's why the city may have dragged their feet to develop anymore facilities, without Triple Crowns commitment to long term use! Until commitments are made on both sides, the status quo will remain. In my opinion and view, we could of diverted Bob Adams air traffic to Hayden and made ball fields there. We could of also transformed the current terminal into a county wide health, recreation and civic center at 1/2 the cost of acquiring a new one. I'm not in favor of breaking promises. Gaining the publics trust back will be brutal at best. I guess, until the long term issues are dealt with, we will be breaking promises and putting band-aides on a lot of things, as usual! Like the old saying goes; you have to spend money to make money! Both TC and the city should find a way to accommodate each other! Idle threats and stubbornness will only exacerbate the frustration of this issue! Until then, I empathize for those residents that may have to bear the burden of traffic and safety. Maybe the city could enlist a full-time public safety officer to stand duty in Trafalgar during the usage! Have a good one!


fish 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh and I don't give my last post 24 hours before Boy Wonder deletes it.


another_local 9 years, 1 month ago

It is amazing to me that some people think that "local" and "business" are mutually exclusive somehow. The overwhelming majority of businesses here are locally owned and they all employ local people.

Hold the city's feet to the fire and make them support the new ball fields effort. Push back on TC and get them to trim down the size of the events eith with qualifiers as suggested above or simply by doubling the entry fee. Enforce traffic rules on Pamela lane and have TC pay for the enforcement. Use the suggestions given for parking passes and keeping the teams in there to play each other thus reducing traffic.

There are a lot of ways to be creative in this and plenty of ground between a wide open free-for-all and losing hundreds of jobs.


colobob 9 years, 1 month ago

OK, While I like many believe (while some don't) that renegging on the original Emerald Park deal is a disgrace and should never happen it appears that it's going to happen anyway. Here's at least a possible solution to the traffic problem. Make ALL participants not only stay at Emerald for the six hour duration as suggested but also require that ALL participants as well as spectators ride the Steamboat shuttle both to and from the park. Allow only residents of Pamela Lane and Emergency personel unrestricted access to Pamela Lane during the hours of scheduled use with no other exceptions other than foot traffic. Put a parking ban in effect in the general vicinity once again with the exception of residents of that vicinity. Post signs to that effect, strictly enforce the ban and ticket and tow (more money for the local economy) violators. I mean if TC is so important to the local economy why not pay a cop or two to check drivers licences at the beginning of PL to verify residency and provide the shuttle for ALL other traffic. It doesn't solve all the concerns but at least it would minimize the traffic and related saftey concerns. I still think that renegging and changing the rules in the middle of the game, so to speak, stinks but if you have to deal with it you might as well deal with it the best way you can. As far as this only being a two year proposition goes it seems as though this same song and dance has been played before.


mtnkids 9 years, 1 month ago

my father (r.i.p.) taught me that a man is only as good as his word. it seems to me that a promise made should be a promise kept. tc will keep making more and more demands as long as they continue to get their way. the line has to be drawn somewhere, there is no time like the present to do so.

this used to be a community of steamboat springs, now it's called steamboat, and the only agenda the "new" locals have is based on personal accumulation of the almighty greenback.


contrarian 9 years, 1 month ago

Interesting that so much of the emotion surrounding this topic has been that it would deny local kids access to the park but nobody seems to notice that Little League and other local sports groups said Triple Crown wouldn't interefer with there use and have said it won't hurt them. In the strory above it says: "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."


ybul 9 years, 1 month ago

this used to be a community of steamboat springs, now it's called steamboat, and the only agenda the "new" locals have is based on personal accumulation of the almighty greenback.

This is what should be considered the core of the debate. What does the community want itself to be. Is the current path that has been followed taking the community further away from what it wants to be.

It seems to me that there are deeper underlying issues that should be addressed as opposed to the simply the TC. What does Steamboat Springs want to be, can the heart of the community be maintained while on the current course.

The current course is primarily dictated by sales tax revenues, to fund government programs, to draw in more tourists. The question should be asked can we be on a different path, which would create the same opportunities, or better ones for those who live and work here. Increasing the quality of life for the locals. Does the TC increase the quality of life for the community of Steamboat Springs or not? That is the baseline question.


raver 9 years, 1 month ago

ah! you can propose all the parking passes and limited numbers you want but this still screws the locals who live on pamela lane, the local kids who wanna play there (last place left to go trust me ive tried everywhere else). maybe rather than our city bending over backwards for triple crown, maybe we could just say 'we promised not to let anyone but locals use the fields, sorry dont schedule that many teams' simple. and what are the benefits of letting them us it anyway? they can find ways to get in all the games on the fields they have already been given and none of their precious money will be lost.


Steve Lewis 9 years, 1 month ago

Its impossible to fully appreciate what this means to a resident on Pamela Lane. Some may not care, but to others it can be painful. A home has unique boundaries which will be as unique as the owner, but certainly these involve security, belonging, and pride.

Those of us caught in the crosshairs of mandatory Historic Preservation months ago have some idea of the emotions stirred when one's hometown considers treading on the boundaries of one's home. Unilaterally placing a burden on singled out homes or a neighborhood, even for the good of the whole, can take the "home" right out of hometown. Particularly for those receiving a burden they feel unfair. For some on Pamela Lane, this will be felt much deeper and longer than the 12 day inconvenience.

So I'm disappointed to see the Pilot's choice here, choosing tourism over neighbors. Your editorial was at least evenhanded. Rob Douglas, your columnist, wouldn't care about that. His Emerald article was so one-sided as to be a low point for your paper. Bringing a DC columnist's style to the Yampa valley? Beats me why anyone would do that.

We should consider a more meaningful compromise than traffic mitigation. If I were a Pamela Lane resident, why should I trust that this is only a 2 year burden? Would you? A meaningful compromise for Pamela Lane residents might be making that "unwritten (council) promise" into a written council promise after 2 years, no more TC. Give them an ordinance stating what most now agree was promised. Its not ironclad, but an ordinance barring TC would be harder for future councils to repeal.

-Steve Lewis


btheball 9 years, 1 month ago

another_local on the "Rob Douglas" blog about the same topic: "Changing the access to Emerald would be great. The access to the south of the Hampton Inn would involve moving the at-grade rail crossing or tunneling (5M) under the rail line. It is not possible to add another at-grade crossing. The rail road will allow this but will not pay for it. The problem lies in both the expense and the fact that the stoplight on 40 could not be moved since it connects to the road on the other side of 40... So it can be done but it is a less than perfect solution."

and 424now adds "The amount of work needed to modify the access to Emerald park's parking lot is minimal. There is already an acces almost directly to the the lot from lincoln.

Google Earth, Pamela lane, Steamboat Springs, Co.

See what I mean?"

Moving towards solutions. Tell TC they can use the park after they pay the expense of changing the access point so to not adversely the impact on Pamala Lane. It is the only long term solution to Pamela Lane - and keeping promises - which is important in the short and long-term - and ties into the by-pass discussion/solution.

The railroad will allow it so it's left to the art of negotiation... Don't just give it to 'em. They don't live here.


powderman 9 years, 1 month ago

yay lets let triple clowns have more power of our town. they are arrogant jerks, and shouldnt disturb the residents, and trash the fields. the fields arent even the right size for them. ahh triple clowns suck


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.