Triple Crown ordinance shelved

City Council to review Steamboat 700 proposal tonight

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What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060

Agenda

5 p.m. Proclamation of historic preservation month; final report on a proposed U.S. Highway 40 access control intergovernmental agreement; resolution adopting the agreement; resolution adopting an alternate use study for Steamboat Springs Airport; resolution adopting a master plan and layout plan for Steamboat Springs Airport; resolution amending community housing guidelines

7 p.m. Public comment; Planning Commission referrals; development plan, final development plan and preliminary plat application for a Yampa Valley Housing Authority project at Elk River Road and U.S. 40; pre-application review of Steamboat 700; second reading of an ordinance revising the city's vacation home rental ordinance; second reading of an ordinance that in limited circumstances would allow payment in lieu of required sidewalk construction; City Council reports, introduction of topics for future work session agendas; staff reports

— The Steamboat Springs City Council has plenty of items on its agenda when it meets today for the first time in three weeks - but Triple Crown won't be one of them.

The first reading of an ordinance extending Triple Crown Sports' contract with the city through 2010 had been scheduled for tonight, but City Manager Alan Lanning said officials need more time to prepare for the discussion. The ordinance will be postponed to the May 20 council meeting.

"We're still putting together numbers," Lanning said.

Those numbers include two in particular, which Lanning is referring to as the "shock number" and the "shock-and-awe number," because of their magnitude. The shock number is the cost to upgrade the fields Triple Crown uses for the baseball and softball tournaments it hosts in Steamboat and neighboring communities for 10 weeks each summer. Triple Crown is requiring such upgrades for a contract extension in Steamboat for two summers after 2008.

"They've been asking for that for years," Lanning said. "There's a standard they want our fields to be at. Some of our fields are not at that standard."

The shock-and-awe number is the price to build a regional sports complex and secure a long-term contract with Triple Crown, or "what it takes to get a 20-year deal," Lanning said.

"Shock because I think the number relative to upgrading our fields and helping Hayden upgrade its fields is a little bit bigger than people think," Lanning said. "And, of course, the shock-and-awe number is building the complex for the long term, and that's a much bigger number."

Lanning could not offer even a ballpark figure for the shock number. Past estimates have put the cost of a regional sports complex in Hayden at $8.5 million. Triple Crown officials have said they may leave Northwest Colorado if such a facility is not built.

In recent weeks they have said there is no reason to sign even a two-year deal with the city without progress on a long-term plan. The company recently issued a nationwide request for proposals to gauge what hosting their tournaments would be worth to other communities.

"At the best case, we have a two-year period to satisfy the long-term requirements, and it was clear to us that Mr. King would like to have the long-term solution done concurrently with the short-term one," said Lanning, referring to Triple Crown President Dave King. "That's part of the delay here. We're tying to do both."

A consultant's report released last year states that Triple Crown brings about 32,000 visitors and $1.19 million in tax revenues to Northwest Colorado each summer. But some residents oppose the company's tournaments because of noise, traffic congestion and other impacts that accompany the influx of visitors.

The debate came to the forefront recently because of Triple Crown's controversial request to use Emerald Park fields in 2009 and 2010. To date, the fields have been reserved for local use, and many residents say past council members promised Triple Crown never would be allowed to use them. There also are traffic concerns because the park has only one vehicular access - along residential Pamela Lane.

"There is no easy answer to all of this, and I hope that the public and those either connected or not connected with Triple Crown will understand or at least consider that this is part of a larger economic development strategy for the community," Lanning said. "I think it's easier to think of this as a long-term strategy rather than compartmentalizing it into smaller details."

The cost of upgrading current fields and constructing a major sports complex would be incurred by local governments, Lanning said. Although he said there are compelling arguments for Triple Crown sharing in those costs, Lanning said it makes sense for governments to cover them entirely.

"Primarily, in my mind, we are reaping the benefits of the sales tax derived from their presence, and upgrading the fields benefits our residents in the long-term, as well," he said.

Steamboat 700

City Council will review a pre-application tonight for Steamboat 700, the proposed 700-acre development west of city limits that proposes about 2,000 homes and hopes to be annexed into city limits.

"Basically there are just a few things that we're going to discuss that did not get covered last time," said city planner Jason Peasley, referring to the council's first review of the pre-application.

Issues not discussed include the proposal's lack of light industrial uses as envisioned in the city's West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan and the location of its main commercial centers, which city officials have said they would like to see more centrally located. The Steamboat 700 development team also has issues of its own it would like to discuss.

"They don't feel that they've received enough direction from the elected officials so they can amend their proposal," Peasley said. "Their application is feedback-based. What they're looking for is as much feedback as possible."

Peasley said he expects this to be City Council's last formal review of Steamboat 700 before an updated proposal is submitted. Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy has said he hopes to make such a submittal this summer.

"Once this process is over, the ball is in their court," Peasley said.

Also tonight, City Council will consider the second reading of an ordinance that would allow developers - in limited circumstances - to make a payment in lieu of required sidewalk construction.

Comments

MtnWarlock 5 years, 11 months ago

Sure, go ahead and rid Steamboat of Triple Crown! Read this first and tell me how this would affect our destination resort!

From MSN:

http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/topstocks/archive/2008/05/06/a-scary-thought-gasoline-at-7-50-a-gallon.aspx

How will Steamboat fit into this picture? Something to think about! Have a good day!

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another_local 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't agree with WZ that is it a small hit or with his description of TC as "white trash". Both are demonstrably false.

But I do agree that spending 8.5 million of city funds to support this is wrong. If we are going to spend that kind of money (I certainly hope we DO NOT) it should be on other items of more lasting value and benefit.

It might be time to take that hit even though it is not small.

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WZ 5 years, 11 months ago

I highly doubt if Steamboat chooses to get rid of Triple Crown, that no other equal, or even greater, economic opportunity will fill the void.

Steamboat can do much better than Triple Crown, the "white trash" of summer vacationers.

Triple Crown is not the type of vacationer that the ubber builders of the new Steamboat are trying to attract.

You don't see Jim Cook jumping up and down to keep Triple Crown around, do you?! No. Rather, he and others are pouring millions into high end construction projects, not baseball fields.

It seems a conflict of interest between (and waste of) the City's Triple Crown effort and the direction this new development is taking Steamboat.

Imagine the quality and disposable income of the visitors that would flock to Steamboat if the city of Steamboat dumped "shock-and-awe" sums of money into the arts, culture, baby boomers, etc.

Take note City Council.

Take the small, temporary economic hit and risk. Let Triple Crown go. Go after organizations that desire what the millions of dollars that are already being pumped into the new Steamboat will offer.

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sickofitall 5 years, 11 months ago

Let's not let Jim Cook be the example here. Reality is 8.5 million or more for fields does not add up for the benefits or return on that dime.

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AmebaTost 5 years, 11 months ago

You need to add 20 years of maintenance and up keep to the 10 million.

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blahblah 5 years, 11 months ago

The cost of a regional complex plus field upgrades is probably around 10 million dollars. At the current rate, Triple Crown would generate 24 million in sales tax revenues over the next 20 years. After spending 10 million, the return on our investment would be 700,000 dollars of tax revenue a year. The question for City Coucil is whether we can do as well or better than that without being coerced by Triple Crown, and whether other events wouldn't be more attractive to locals. How about spending energy and money bringing in events that both locals and tourists can enjoy?

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elkeye 5 years, 11 months ago

Its not $8.5-$10 million for a triple crown complex but rather at least twice that amount since no one has included the bonding/financing costs.

Unless the complex is paid for upfront, the financing costs & principal payments will probably equal or exceed any sales tax revenues generated over the next 20 years.

I hope that the total cost (construction & financing) is included in the shock-and-awe number that is presented to City Council.

Its time for a reality check!

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elkeye 5 years, 11 months ago

Construction Costs + Financing Costs + Maintenance/UpKeep Costs = a white elephant!

The last white elephant we saw (aka a $34 million recreation center) tanked big time before the voters.

What makes the supporters of Triple Crown Sports think that a regional sports complex will fair any better?

If the numbers do not add up, the Triple Crown Sports "ordinance" should be permanently shelved.

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424now 5 years, 11 months ago

As belts tighten around the globe the local vocal minority of Steamboat Springs raises its voice once again to denounce a vital part of the Cities Summer economy.

Give me a break.

Compromise.

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justathought 5 years, 11 months ago

The shock number is the cost to upgrade the fields Triple Crown uses for 10 weeks each summer.... what will these $8.5 million + fields accomplish the other 42 weeks?

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dave reynolds 5 years, 11 months ago

bail on the tourist business?..two words for you..destination resort..the same thing that brought you here brings TC and other tourists.get over it

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toboyle105 5 years, 11 months ago

Build it and they will come. For a community that 10 mil is the chump change out in Marabou is laughable. White trash? Give me a break. Wait til the hedge funders take over. That poor white trash you are driving out is what makes this country great. If having a good time around the baseball diamond during the summer months is bad what is it you want? How about a giant climbimg wall and an annual wall climb? Why is no one whining about the diesel buses polluting the air when the region is awash in nat gas?

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colowoodsman 5 years, 11 months ago

It's time to 'cut the cord' with TC and start getting the City out of the tourism business. There may have been a time when City aid for tourism was justified but they have long since outgrown that need and should be weaned form City help and made to stand on there own two feet. Any revenues from TC are offset by their added expense and especially their negative impact on our quallity of life.

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Books 5 years, 11 months ago

"$1.19 million in tax revenues to Northwest Colorado" That includes tax revenue for Craig, Hayden, Routt County and Moffat County.

Steamboat only claims 500k per year in TC tax revenue. If Steamboat were to foot the entire bill, it would take 20 years just to break even.

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MtnWarlock 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm just wondering. If TC is given the boot, what will be the immediate replacement for it?

colowoodsman, If the city bails on the tourist business, what will they do with all that free time?

424now, Compromise? Here? Hmmm, good luck!

WZ, What does the replacement TC tourist look like? Are they the Vail or Aspen snob type?

This TC subject seems to be a sore tooth, hot bottoned issue! So I think: (this comment was removd by site staff.) chuckle! ;)

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colowoodsman 5 years, 11 months ago

Mtn-if gas prices are going to skyrocket that is all the more reason NOT to lock into a long term contract with TC. Even if the teams show up they won't have any extra spending cash. Better to leave the door open for a higher class of tourist. Like I've been saying for years we need a more diversified economy.

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stayinbalance 5 years, 11 months ago

I just do not understand why we the people of Steamboat have to pay for Triple Crown to make the big money? Why on earth, if they are really serious, don't they contribute some of the money? I do not want to spend any money towards their profit. We have plenty of fields for our needs. Time to say bye-bye, find some other suckers who will pay for them to profit. There is no doubt Steamboat will attract other diverse groups who won't requite us to spend over $20 - 30 million just to please them.

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austrek 5 years, 11 months ago

Let me start by saying that $8.5 mil feels like too much to have to spend in order to keep TC coming back. But living in a destination resort means you have to keep attracting people to visit. It is part of how communities like ours sustain themselves.

WZ says the TC are the "white trash of summer vacationers". Wonderful stereotyping. I see lots of expensive SUV's (gas guzzlers albeit), hotel rooms booked all the way out to Craig, restaurants filled, groceries getting purchased and shops being visited. My experience with tournament sports like baseball is that it takes some means to have your kids participate in them. The lodging, travel and meals alone are pricey not to mention the cost to pay for the team and tournament fees. I am not sure I'd call all TC participants "white trash".

Anyway, I hate the idea of idea of losing tourism $$$'s without a plan to replace them. I have yet to see or hear anything that makes me think we are looking that far ahead.

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armchairqb 5 years, 11 months ago

Stay in balance. you ask why should we pay for tc? Well why is the city asking 700 to pay for a school and other infrastructure? Because it doesn't hurt to ask. the worst that could happen is you get a no for an answer.Hey maybe 700 hundred could pay tc and leave the city out of it. Private Business helping other private business.Now-- who's going to help Cafritz and ski time sq.

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dawg 5 years, 11 months ago

The city should think twice about spending any money on ballfields to benefit TC. The city bowed to pressure from a very small number of special-interest groups to build the terminal at the SS airport. No one questioned what would happen if commercial flights moved to YVRA. Well, they did, and the city is left with a white elephant. A long-term contract with TC is of no use if the company wiggles out of it or goes bankrupt.

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steamboatyahoo 5 years, 11 months ago

hello, gas prices have been running over $6/year in Europe for years. Euros still travel, still drive, still have sporting events, vacations, etc. They don't drive tanks, but they do drive.

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