Losing Triple Crown risky

Lanning warns of $1M budget cut

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— Worse than Northwest Colorado's potential loss of Triple Crown Sports, Steamboat Springs City Manager Alan Lanning said, is the lack of a long-term economic strategy such a loss could reveal.

"We just let 'er happen," Lanning said of the city's economy. "I think that's just the tragic failure of this. And I'm working on that. I'm putting together a group of really smart people that I hope will help me think my way through that."

As it stands, Lanning said Steamboat is in a position where he immediately would cut $1 million from the city's budget should Triple Crown - the sports tourism company that hosts 10 weeks of baseball and softball tournaments in and around Steamboat each summer - announce its departure.

"If we implemented that strategy now, we'd still have to cut the budget if we lost Triple Crown," Lanning said. "It takes time. I'd say we wouldn't have to cut the budget if we'd implemented a strategy like this five years ago. : We wouldn't need them. The worst position to be in is when you absolutely, desperately need to keep something to keep yourself afloat. The best position is when you're diversified and healthy, and you don't need anybody to remain afloat."

Lanning said capital improvement projects and community support spending such as the city's funding of the arts would take the biggest budgetary hits if Triple Crown Sports left Steamboat.

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

Issues such as the company's controversial proposed use of Emerald Park in 2009 and 2010, fields that don't meet Triple Crown standards and little progress on the construction of a regional sports complex have brought Triple Crown's relationship with the city to a new head. President Dave King long has said he may leave Northwest Colorado without the sports complex, and in recent weeks, he has said he may not even sign a short-term contract extension through 2010 without substantial progress toward meeting the long-term needs of his growing company.

Lanning said the revenue generated by Triple Crown would be hard to replace - at least immediately.

"We'd have to go to a vote for anything that would replace the revenue unless it was fee-based," Lanning said. "We could bring in more events, but those events would require some significant capital investment to get going and would bring along all the impacts we have now. It would take several years to get one of those events going, if you could bring it to town."

Changing economy

Noreen Moore, business resource director for the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, acknowledged that being in a situation where 49 percent of the city's summer sales tax can be attributed to Triple Crown is somewhat precarious - and certainly not diverse. Moore said the time has come to create a long-term economic plan, which could involve a new effort for city officials.

"It's not something we've ever had to deal with," she said.

Moore said the question of where to invest always was an easy one for Steamboat.

"Put it into tourism," she said. "It was a no-brainer. Now, we're not as straightforward. The economy's not near as simple as it was 15 years ago. : Now we have a much more complex economy. The conversations need to be more complex."

Moore is not as worried as some when it comes to the potential loss of Triple Crown. She noted that the loss of other events, such as vintage car and motorcycle races that used to anchor Labor Day weekend, have not resulted in as big of a hit to the local economy as many feared they would.

"The sky's not falling," she said. "It might be a little bit of a bump, but we've lost things before. We're going to face this up and down the road."

Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, also cited the resilient strength of Steamboat's economy.

Moore said it may make sense to part ways with Triple Crown if the company and the city have discordant visions.

"Physically, it appears the carrying capacity is not something we can do," she said. "It's an incompatible relationship. : I'm not against Triple Crown. I enjoy them being here. But if we're not capable of carrying them, is that a good investment of dollars?"

Comments

scooter 6 years, 3 months ago

OK all you blogers....

On your mark... get set.... BLOG!!!

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 3 months ago

Lanning summed it all up with this sentence.

The best position is when you're diversified and healthy, and you don't need anybody to remain afloat."

Bottom line is Steamboat is not in a good position in regards to TC. We've basically put ourselves in a damned if we do damned if we don't scenario.

I wonder why this group of "Very smart people" wasn't put together sooner. Oh wait a second. Isn't the "smart group of people" supposed to be our city leaders aka City Council?

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Malcolm_Reynolds 6 years, 3 months ago

To all of you whiner bloggers, I can't wait to come back for a laugh!

Oh, boy is this great!!

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colowoodsman 6 years, 3 months ago

Once again 'Who is the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative'? They are listed at Yampa Valley Info but that page came up in a language I've never seen before. I do not belive they are part of Routt County Government or the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council. Who appointed Moore to this group and what are her qualifications? Why should we listen to another phantom group of self proclaimed experts even if they are "really smart people'? I know that Moore is on the staff of the ST&P so it should not be to hard to find her and ask her.

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another_local 6 years, 3 months ago

Alan,

It IS your job to figure out how to manage the budget if revenue is going to fall. It is certainly NOT your role to form a strategy (or a group of really smart people to help YOU form a strategy) for where to go from here directing the economy.

You are a manager not an elected official. Stick to getting the streets plowed, keep the grass in the parks looking good and make sure our bridges don't fall down.

As far as saving $1M per year; how about an imdediate moratorium on all studies and consultants. That ought to just about cover it.

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elk2 6 years, 3 months ago

I see lots of waste in summer beautification. The flowers on Lincoln Ave. If the city pays for them I think you can cut it out of the budget. Let the downtown merchants pay for their own flowers. Yes they are pretty but are they necessary? I don't think so. Allen, lots of waste. Why not ask the citizens for suggestions.

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another_local 6 years, 3 months ago

Elk, the downtown merchants do pay for the flowers. The flowers are a Rotary fundraiser. The money goes Rotary efforts like grants to local organizations and scolorships. The city waters the ones that are on Lincoln. (They are out there watering the trees anyway)

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 3 months ago

1.5 mil in cuts. Hmm! Sounds to me like there will be lots of wage freezes, restructuring of management, personnel and permanent lay offs for and unpredictable time. Services will be massively cut, including potted flowers downtown, sub contract landscapers and window cleaners, janitorial services, field lighting reduced to day hours, office air / heating turned down, no more office coffee or water coolers, meeting refreshments and catering, company gas cards with vehicles and expenses halted, regular work hours reduced by one day or eight hours a week, no Christmas party, downtown snow removal reduced and secondary streets plowed less, study groups abolished, are just a few possibilities that be subject to be whacked! I find it hard to believe that Lanning is going to need a study group to resolve this! It is my opinion; Al was hired to resolve things like this! It is also my opinion that most study groups are a way of distributing blame of incompetent decision making, not to help in resolving the issues at hand! I hope a positive resolve can be achieved for the many that will be affected by this! Have a Happy Mothers Day!

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

$1 Million from a 2008 General Budget of $27M and a 2008 Capital Budget of $8M (not including the $34M for the recreation center defeated by the voters)?

A three (3) per cent cut from the combined General ($27M) and Capital ($8M) budgets is not "risky"!

What is risky is to construct a $8.5M-$10M Triple Crown Sports complex (assuming the land and water rights are, in fact, donated by a Hayden developer).

If the land and water rights for the Hayden "Triple Crown" complex are not donated, what will the price tag be to purchase a parcel of land, construct, finance and maintain the complex for the next twenty years?

Still waiting for that "shock-and-awe" number to be presented at the May 20th meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council. The "number" will probably take the breath away from most members of the City Council and the public.

After a reality check, the City of Steamboat Springs should just "bite the bullet" and plan for the future without Triple Crown.

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424now 6 years, 3 months ago

I would rather the Anti-TC vocal local minority take the time to consider compromise on this issue.

We don't have to loose TC and we don't have to continue along the same path of tunnel vision summer economic strategy.

This summer let TC use Emerald. (As I typed that I swear I can hear teeth grinding)

This summer increase police presence in and around all TC events. I suspect when you do you will realize that most TC-er's are simply families on vacation. Not the ill mannered monsters these nay sayers are attempting to portray.

This summer build a couple fields. Make them multi use. Soccer, Football, Baseball, Frisbee Golf...

This summer start looking for viable alternative tourist draws for the Boat. We can do that and not try to drive TC out. They do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Diversification is not the absolute alternative. It is an excellent plan for a stable summer economy.

OK, come on all you nay sayers lets here it.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

424now...I submit that the "minority" is those members of the local business community (and City Council) that is only interested in the almighty dollar.

TC is not even asking to use the Emerald park fields this summer!

TC "wants" to use the Emerald park fields in the summer of 2009 and 2010 (not in the summer of 2008).

Dave King's position is he "may not even sign a short-term contract extension through 2010 without substantial progress toward meeting the long-term needs of his growing company".

It's time for Dave King's growing company to put up a substantial portion of the capital required to provide the infrastructure required for "his" needs.

If Dave King expects the residents of Steamboat Springs to provide the capital funds required for the infrstructure required for "his" needs...I strongly suggest that Dave King not hold his breath.

TC-er's are not simply individual (or even a couple of) families on vacation.

Increased police presence in and around all TC events is not a solution to the problems created by the unsupervised "gangs" of team members at non-TC sites (including residential properties/neighborhoods) throughout the city.

The failure of coaches and/or parents to properly supervise the behavior of groups of team members is the basic problem!

The idea that Triple Crown Sports should be allowed to the double the number of teams at tournaments in the Yampa Valley is absurd.

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addlip2U 6 years, 3 months ago

Can't wait to welcome visitors that have avoided Steamboat because of the TC invasion. They are just waiting for the good news, no more Triple Crown in Steamboat! The word will get around soon and even Steamboat can be featured as one of seven wonders of the world.

Chamber can return to do what we thought is their responsibility: promote Steamboat. Chamber has been a bit idle in the past years.

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steamboatyahoo 6 years, 3 months ago

the Steamboat area is in for a record run-off this summer. anyone remember when the Yampa ran down Yampa street, will probably happen again this summer.

The City of Golden did a study when they funded the construction of the kayaking whitewater park there. That attracts millions of dollars to the local economy through steady kayaker visits.

idea; locals have funded several improvements to the local river features in town near the library. There are many more possible spots that could be improved on the Yampa. Let's spend that TC field money to have the premier whitewater kayaking river in the world!

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ybul 6 years, 3 months ago

I think that looking into other ways to generate revenue is great.

My concern with looking into a kayak park is that it is dependent upon water, much like the agricultural base in the Valley. Given the current macro economic climate, yielding high ag prices worldwide, without building more water supplies to guarantee consistent water resources, the option of a kayak park might cause turmoil.

Maybe a grain mill, to mill wheat that is grown in the valley, shipped out to be milled and back again as bread. Or the myriad of other ways to tie into the agricultural heritage in the valley. Create a mill which makes a sour dough similar to those in San Fran. Work with the local ranchers to make an Omaha beef brand which brings in revenue.

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dawg 6 years, 3 months ago

The city could take several cost-cutting measures to save money. One practice that has always confounded me is the scoria clean-up downtown during spring. Sure, the city is responsible for spreading the scoria, but do they really need to spend many machine and man hours to pick it up? Can't individuals rake it up and put it out for pick-up as part of their own clean-up? Planting annuals instead of perennials is another no-brainer. And last but not least, with increasing TC babysittting and clean-up, is there a point of diminishing returns?

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hubiem 6 years, 3 months ago

dawg,

do you know the difference between annuals and perennials? how does planting annuals instead of perennials save any money? you have to plant annuals every year. perennials come up on their own with no need for replanting. if you want to save money then planting perennials instead of annuals is the no-brainer.

i have to say that i have never been to one of the ball fields to see a tc game. the only experience i've had was a couple years ago i was doing some carpentry work at some local condos. a tc group was staying next door. there were so many people staying in this one condo. there were at least ten kids and probably five or six adults. the kids were always outside in a grassy area in the back throwing a baseball around. the adults must have bought several hundred of those popsicles that come in liquid form in their own plastic tube. the kids would just drop the empty plastic tubes in the yard when they were done. i said something to one of the kids about picking up their trash, but i don't think he understood. they were hispanic, and i don't think anyone in the group spoke much english. then one morning they packed up and left. they left behind about a hundred plastic popsicle tubes all over the back yard.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

hubiem...your observations are not atypical!

"a tc group was staying next door. there were so many people staying in this one condo. there were at least ten kids and probably five or six adults. the kids were always outside in a grassy area in the back throwing a baseball around. the adults must have bought several hundred of those popsicles that come in liquid form in their own plastic tube. the kids would just drop the empty plastic tubes in the yard when they were done. i said something to one of the kids about picking up their trash, ... then one morning they packed up and left. they left behind about a hundred plastic popsicle tubes all over the back yard."

Do you think the owner of the condo knew that the management company allowed the unit to be occupied by "at least ten kids and probably five or six adults"?

The failure of the management companies in Steamboat to put a stop to this type of occupancy load is another reason that owners of nightly rental units are fed up with Triple Crown Sports!

At least the adults and/or kids you observed were not throwing baseballs in the parking lot ... hitting the parked vehicles of other guests or owners.

An entire TC team (and coaches) packed into a 2 or 3 bedroom condo is not "simply a family on vacation"!

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Ilike2dv8 6 years, 3 months ago

Insert families, skiers, college students, concert goers, tourists, motorcycle and car race attendee's, mtn bikers or kayaker's in place of TC'ers. Face it folks you don't want visitors, you just want them to send their checks in the mail... and when you don't have jobs or an economy you will blame city council and beg for affordable housing.

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dawg 6 years, 3 months ago

hubiem-I do know the difference, I just didn't state my point clearly. In the past, the city has sent legions of people out planting annuals in the medians, etc. instead of perennials. I hope they have caught on to that waste of time and money.

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dogd 6 years, 3 months ago

This is not a good time (gas prices) to allow a somewhat captive group to escape. The irony is that it's not a particularly great time to be putting in capital improvements for one company (which might just shortly thereafter make new demands we can't deal with).

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 3 months ago

I bet lannings budget will need to cut $1million from services and redirect it toward fueling city vehicles. Didn't they budget for $2.50 gallon? It is approaching $4.50/gallon(we aren't even at $200/brl); and if the city blind sided by that, all the locals will suffer with or without TC. Or is it the Iron Horse that is squeezing the city budget? Silly city.

Maybe we could sell the water from fishcreek res to Shell. They love water rights.

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okiegal 6 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how much the "really smart people "will cost.

Alan, PULL YOPUR SELF TOGETHER MAN> if you would have had the foresight to create a plan that allows for diversified revenue we wouldn't be in this NON PICKLE.. seriously folks......steamboat will not cease to exist if TC moves on.

good grief....THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!!!!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

And in retrospect, Steamboat will not cease to exist if TC stays. That's for that helpful analogy, okiegal!

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colowoodsman 6 years, 3 months ago

Wrong kielbasa-TC is destroying SS little by little, everyday, even when they are not here.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

Even when they aren't here? Wow! Better put on my tin-foil hat to stay safe!

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ybul 6 years, 3 months ago

No Steamboat Springs will still exist if TC is here, though if they double, it possibly will create more financial-traffic-social problems than it is worth.

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summerbird 6 years, 3 months ago

One of the nicest things about Lincoln Ave. in the spring and summer is the flowers. Its worth the money if it takes your mind off the tedious traffic and exhaust fumes with which one must contend traveling through town.

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424now 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow,

elkeye,

In our current financial position and with the prospect of a continued pinched pocket, the city needs to have a healthy interest in "the almighty dollar." Anything less would be irresponsible if not illegal.

Thank you for the clarification I misremembered the actual dates.

Re: Mr. King's stance on a short term contract,

I see this as a point where examination of the City's and Mr. King's future rolls and obligations regarding the perceived expansion of TC's games need to be clarified.

I agree that as TC will benefit as well as the city from an expansion of TC games a mutual effort will need to be put forth by both entities to address the fields' issue.

If, "TC-er's are not simply individual (or even a couple of) families on vacation." Then who are they?

Re: Increasing Police presence, Increase Police presence throughout the boat During TC. If that occurs you will still find that a majority of the participants are law abiding families. They are parents supporting their children in their chosen sport. Of course their will be the exceptions to the rule, there always are.

Your perceived failure of Coaches and parents is a topic for the examination of the City's and Mr. King's future rolls and obligations regarding the expansion of TC's games.

The potential revenue generated by twice as many TC-ers is substantial enough to warrant a serious effort by the City and Mr. King to reach an equitable agreement.

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stayinbalance 6 years, 3 months ago

Man alive, Steamboat will just fine without T C. If the chamber wasn't so one-sided, they could easily promote Steamboat to the tourists that used to come here to enjoy all the recreational and cultural activities we offer. The people who no longer come because of TC. Give these former guests a good deal to come back...they will and have such a good time, they will tell their friends and etc...Steamboat may feel it for the first year without TC but I'll bet we won't after that. On top of it, we won't have to spend all that money building new fields so TC can make a bigger profit. Personally, I would rather wait on people who appreciate our place and leave good tips instead of getting stiffed and yelled at because we couldn't serve 60 people in 5 minutes! I'm sure, if the city has to tighten up for a year, it would not be so bad. There is enough waste that tightening the purse strings would probably be beneficial.

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424now 6 years, 3 months ago

Balance,

You are promoting a possibility in direct opposition to a current fact. Steamboat makes a significant amount of money from the families in TC.

Correct me if I am wrong but it sounds a little like the economy tanks you will be reasonably safe. Not everyone has that luxury. The City of Steamboat Springs needs to focus on sound financial planning now more than ever before.

Both TC and SBS need to compromise!

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contrarian 6 years, 3 months ago

U.S. gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon in some markets http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/us-gasoline-prices-topping-4/story.aspx?guid=%7B6CEB14F9%2DE537%2D4754%2D9729%2D47C48331E332%7D

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Average U.S. retail gasoline prices rose 3 cents to just under $3.76 a gallon in the last day, according to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report from AAA. A month ago, gasoline averaged $3.37 a gallon nationally and a year ago, the price stood at $3.09 a gallon.

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weststmbtres 6 years, 3 months ago

Dawg,

The Scoria clean up is a requirement for Steamboat to stay in compliance with the State health department regulations for particulate matter in our air.

Have you read any of the stories the Pilot did that addressed the issue. Here is one for you. http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/20...

Maybe you should thank the city for the clean air instead of criticizing them for what you beleive is a waste of tax dollars.

P.S. I read your annuals vs perennials comment the same way hubie did.

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caplka 6 years, 3 months ago

Elkeye:

You must be one of the trust funders that allow you to condemn people who want to make a living, pay employes, buy food, and reinvest in their business.

Get a life.

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stayinbalance 6 years, 3 months ago

424, I agree with you that sound financial planning needs to be done. That means not having all your eggs in one basket. (and a huge assumption that our current council and management can do this???) I think we need to be a little tougher on TC. No temporary 2 year contract with all the expenses of building more fields. Since TC is also looking at other places (i.e., less expensive) but those locations are not ready yet, what would keep them from saying bye-bye after 2 years and we are left with a lot of expensive fields we don't need. We certainly have much more important things to be spending our money on! I say, if we are to compromise, they sign a 10 year contract or nothing. Otherwise, bye-bye.

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

The dialog unfortunately seems to be one sided. I want this and I want that or I'll take my ball and go home. That's not dialog. That's called an ultimatum. Diversity is the answer. Relying on a single entity is not. Stayinbalance is on the mark. Let the Chamber do what they are supposed to do and promote Steamboat to a wide variety of folks and not just rely on revenue from TC. Let Mr. King anti-up if he wants the 'Boat as a venue for his tournaments, in both money as well as a long term commitment. Anything less is unacceptable.

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

Exploring all options is a good idea including the city hosting their own tournaments, why not have the whole pie? A franchise or another franchise owner could possibly be found through "i9 Sports."

www.i9sports.com

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ybul 6 years, 3 months ago

A 10 year contract is only as good as the paper it is written on. If the company goes under (theft, poor financial planning), then Steamboat Springs is still stuck with the tab for some expensive fields.

Why not court his competition, as he says he needs to stay ahead of them (by expanding), if he is courting other venues, then the Chamber, tourism office should be trying to court his competition.

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