City to sketch Triple Crown future

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— A four-field sports complex near Steamboat Springs Airport and $7.5 million could be the answer to keeping Triple Crown Sports in Northwest Colorado for another decade.

In a progress report to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday, Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson outlined a scenario that could satisfy the needs of the sports tourism company that hosts baseball and softball tournaments in Steamboat and surrounding communities each summer and also keep the number of visiting teams at or near the current level.

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 in Hayden have brought Triple Crown's relationship with the city to a new head. Triple Crown President Dave King has said he may not sign a short-term contract extension through 2010 without substantial progress toward meeting the long-term needs of his growing company.

King "isn't really interested in a two-year contract," City Council President Loui Antonucci said Tuesday. "Any less than (10 years), he felt, would not allow him to grow."

Wilson's report outlined a scenario in which Triple Crown would split its World Series event, the largest in Steamboat, between Steamboat and a new host city. Steamboat would continue to see about 375 to 400 teams visit while the event grows in the second city. Then, beginning in 2011, the number of teams visiting Steamboat would drop to 250 and build slowly from there.

In the meantime, the city would face a number of demands. The first, Wilson said, would be the $2.5 million renovation of fields throughout the Yampa Valley, bringing them up to Triple Crown standards. Completing fields at Dry Creek Park in Hayden would cost $875,000 to $1.4 million, depending on whether lights are included. And a four-field complex on city property near Steamboat Springs Airport would cost $2.5 million to $3.5 million. Wilson stressed that the cost estimates are preliminary. He called it a "first shot across the bow."

Wilson said the costs would not only satisfy Triple Crown, but also would meet local needs.

"We do need more turf," Wilson said. "It's not that we are adrift in fields and stuff like that right now."

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said she supports the plan, noting the revenue Triple Crown generates for the city.

"It's almost as if someone else is paying for us to update our fields," Hermacinski said.

Fields near Steamboat Springs Airport have never been discussed publicly. Hermacinski said the city is no longer considering a regional sports complex in Hayden because of uncertainties surrounding the developer who was going to donate the land for the facility. Also, Hermacinski said, the extension of water lines to an approved development near the airport has opened new development possibilities on city-owned property there.

Councilman Jon Quinn said he is more hesitant to open the checkbook. He said he wants local businesses to pony up some of the costs, since they also benefit from the money spent by Triple Crown tourists. Despite this and some other concerns, most council members said they are in favor of Triple Crown continuing to operate in Steamboat as long as it doesn't grow too large.

"The size of Triple Crown in our community is at a saturation point," Councilman Walter Magill said, adding later that "Triple Crown is a good partner in our community. I'd like to see them stay here."

Joe Kboudi, owner of All That Jazz music store, and Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said businesses would be willing to help.

"We're willing to have skin in the game," Evans Hall said.

Comments

elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

"A four-field sports complex near Steamboat Springs Airport and $7.5 million could be the answer to keeping Triple Crown Sports in Northwest Colorado for another decade."

NOT WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE RESIDENTS!

""We do need more turf (Wilson)"

WE NEED A LOT OF OTHER THINGS FIRST! WITHOUT TRIPLE CROWN SPORTS WE DO NOT NEED MORE BASEBALL/SOFTBALL FIELDS!

"We're willing to have skin in the game" (Evans Hall)

SHOW ME THE MONEY (AND LOTS OF IT)!

IN ADDITION:

What is the cost to maintain the upgraded fields throughout the Valley to the standards Triple Crown Sports demands?

Who is going to pay the cost to maintain the upgraded fields and a four field "Triple Crown Complex" near the Steamboat Springs Airport?

What happens when Triple Crown Sports demands further upgrades or more fields?

With or without Triple Crown Sports, when and how does the city propose to pay for access to Emerald Park that does not involve Pamela Lane?

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ybul 6 years, 3 months ago

So the 1 million in revenue from triple crown is simply going to pay for the new fields. Add in the costs of maintaining them as pointed out above, interest and the opportunity cost of having lost other groups as the town will not be able to handle anyone else, and quite possibly lose the community that makes Steamboat Springs what it is, as there will be added strain on an already poor housing situation.

Seems like a bad financial decision, to take and put all the summer eggs in the TC basket, what will be demanded next.

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

Makes you wonder why folks bothered to oust previous council members. Absolutely unbelievable! And I thought the proposed Rec. Ctr. was a joke! Same song, same dance, different faces. Let the games (no punn intended) begin.

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elk2 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow, with all the new housing being built on Elk River Rd. and now a new Sports Complex with hundreds of teams and their fans, traffic jams at the light will be 3 miles long instead of 1 mile long. Come on. That road has reached the breaking point already. The thought of hundreds more people using the access to the Lower Elk and North Routt is absurd. Sounds like a potentially dangerous remedy to appease TC.

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424now 6 years, 3 months ago

I ask all the opponents of triple crown what they intend to use as an immediate replacement for the significant revenue generated by TC.

No pipe dreams, no if we build it they will come malarky. Tell me how SBS gets a sports or other entity that is here in "08" Now, when we need the revenue!

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elk2 6 years, 3 months ago

How many of these Regular people will still come here with their big _ ss SUV's when gas reaches $8.00-$10.00 per gallon. If You Build It They May Not Come!!!

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elk2 6 years, 3 months ago

P.S. remember when we had to have a new airport in Steamboat because the old one was an "embarrassment" it now houses a sock company.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

ybul...don't forget the cost of having simply giving away the development rights to the "city property near the Steamboat Springs Airport".

Is a four-field "Triple Crown" complex the highest and best use for whatever unidentified parcel of land the city owns near the Steamboat Springs Airport?

Rather than allowing affordable housing to be constructed near the intersection of US 40 and Elk River Road, why is the city not proposing to use of the unidentified parcel for "affordable housing"?

How many acres will be necessary for the four-field "Triple Crown" complex and all the parking required? How much room is reserved for expansion of the complex for additional Triple Crown fields?

If the city has the means to upgraded fields throughout the "valley" and construct a four-field "Triple Crown" complex, the city has the means to construct and operate a city-owned recreation center (without a property tax) for the residents of Steamboat Springs.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 3 months ago

I guess i don't understand what the government is supposed to be doing, are they realtors? Speculators? public servants? Marketers? Flippers? Hotel managers? Socialists? Is the city government supposed to get what its residents need? It sounds like the chamber of commerce "needs" the ball fields. It seems that the city should stick to parks, botanical gardens, snow plowing, ordinance policing, and maintenance free "open -spaces". The city should use their sales tax revenue to help residents, not use sales tax revenue to mold their descisions in a greedy fasion.

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colowoodsman 6 years, 3 months ago

The City should put it's 'land where it's mouth is'. If they are serious about doing something about the housing crisis THEY helped create by getting 'in bed ' with the tourism industry-then they should use the land to try to fix THAT problem rather than add to it by spending MORE money for tourism.

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Steamer 6 years, 3 months ago

Triple Crown is a FOR profit corporation, they need to pay for any additional fields. Why should we help them to make more money? Wake up steamboat residents! You are being used.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 3 months ago

No kidding Steamer. Enough of this BS. If TC wants more ballfields they can buy some damn land and build them.

Besides packing hundreds of more cars at that intersection is insane. The only way that area has a chance in hell of not becoming a total nightmare is by widening the road from the airport to 40 to 4 lanes and redoing the intersection to have double turn lanes. That means the 40 needs to be worked on into town which leads to the BYPASS that needs to be put in place.

For crying out loud is the city council flat out blind to the traffic issues of the corridor???????????

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addlip2U 6 years, 3 months ago

Steamer & ColoradoNative, my thoughts exactly!

TC is a business - why should we give them the land and built their fields for a 10-week/year operation. Let TC purchase the land and built their own fields and complex, maintain it, police it and control it.

What other business will want Steamboat built their facilities, pay their maintenance and upkeep, utilities and police, traffic protection so that they can come to destroy the valley and disrupt us for the whole summer, only to leave and do the same year after year. For lousy $1million/year:.if that much:

Steamboat is not all about money:The supposedly $ 1 million of taxes they leave behind is not worth to the residents of Steamboat for the destruction, tranquility and disruption we have to suffer:.enough of the TC invasion.

If we, the taxpayers, aka the city has the means to upgrade fields and built more, we should take care of our own citizens of Steamboat! We need a recreation center with a pool that would benefit us all and throughout the whole year.

It is time to close the conversation on TC, benefit that is none to us. Let's take care of Steamboat residents first. We don't own a thing to TC.

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addlip2U 6 years, 3 months ago

Last sentence should read:

We don't OWE a thing to TC.

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bubba 6 years, 3 months ago

So if we spend 7.5m on an upgraded field to keep them at 400 teams per year, and then they drop to 250, what does that do to our tax revenues? The debt service on a 7.5m bond issue would be over .5m per year, which eats up half of the supposed 1m in revenue we get from them, so aren't we cutting the benefit of having them here in half by doing this, and then down only enough to cover the debt service when they reduce the amount of teams here?

I'm not saying throw them out, but this 1m in tax revenues that they keep holding over our heads won't completely disappear- we won't replace all of it in the first year, but every hotel, restaurant and store isn't going to sit vacant because these folks aren't here! If we only replace 100k in tax revenues through other visitors or more locals going out, then the net loss (after debt service on the new facility) is closer to 400k than 1m, which doesn't seem so bad.

For that matter, are lift ticket sales still exempt from sales tax? If we stopped subsidizing summer and winter tourism, I bet tax monies would increase AND it wouldn't all just go to bond payments.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

Bubba...I'll vote for a lift ticket tax and no Triple Crown!

A 4% lift ticket tax would more than replace the perceived tax revenues (direct and indirect) that are attributed to Triple Crown.

The time to revisit the subject of a lift ticket tax is NOW.

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two_planker 6 years, 3 months ago

Why dont we use the land for a park for the people that live here.....keep the green spaces

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another_local 6 years, 3 months ago

Elkeye, a lift ticket tax might very well replace the tax revenue, but it would not replace the jobs. All this discussion about the tax revenue misses the point which is that whatever the tax contribution to NW colorado is, the wage contribution is 5X as much.

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snowman4 6 years, 3 months ago

Are you kidding me what you have all failed to mention is "Trickle Down Economics" if Triple Crown is bringing in 1.19 million in sales tax dollars at 4.5%, that translates to over 30 million dollars spent in our local businesses in 13 weeks! The same businesses that employ you and me. How do we replace that? Do any of you remember Steamboat before TC? Sure it was beautiful, but a beautiful ghost town. If TC goes away it will adversely effect our entire community.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

TC adversely effects the community today!

The discussion about the "lost" tax revenue is/was used by the supporter's of TC in the hope that it will persuade the City Council that it is in the City's best interest (tax revenue) to keep Triple Crown.

If lost tax revenue does not work, how about lost jobs?

I submit that the real reason that many of the supporters of TC want them is simply their own bottom line (profit = $$$).

If the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association wants Triple Crown (and Triple Crown won't pay for its own infrastructure), then the members of the "Chamber" should be paying the full cost for the land, construction, financing and maintenance for the infrastructure required by Triple Crown.

The City has a role in economic development, however the idea that the city should provide free land, $7.5 million, free financing and free maintenance is simply too much economic development assistance for the projected return on the investment.

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trump_suit 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, the TC business asking for the city to provide parks and amenities is very similar to what Professional sports teams and owners have been asking the public to pay for with their new stadium requests. The only difference is the scale and size of the request.

In each case, the local government makes a case for the expenditure by analyzing the tax revenues and benefits to the community. What is different here???

For those of you that are rabid about the downside of the TC crowd and their behavior, please check the daily record for the last couple of weeks. Without any tourists in town, the police sure seem to have alot of local miscreants. Are you absolutely sure that it is the TC crowd causing your issue, and not the neighbors kids?

Traffic is still a concern in April and May without any visitors in town. Same question: Are you sure it is the TC crowd causing your issue????

It would be sad to lose the business and summer revenue from TC when a small number of their participants cause the majority of problems. One a$$^&$%(*&^ in town should not color the entire organization or your opinion of them. Maybe a Steamboat friendly wave and smile would fix your noise problem quicker than a call to the local PD.....

As this town grows, will it stay true to it's friendly nature, or will it become just another anonymous place on the map. Locals, the choice is yours, and running TC out of town will not change the dynamics of what is happening in Steamboat.

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colowoodsman 6 years, 3 months ago

t-s, the BIG difference is that locals do NOT attend TC games like they do Professional sports. 20+ yerars of TC is enough or havn't you noticed?

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snowman4 6 years, 3 months ago

Elkeye,

How does Triple Crown adversely effect our community?

Our infrastructure is paid for by sales tax dollars and our property taxes are some of the lowest in the nation. In case you didn't notice we are tourist town that relies on tourism to survive.

You keep talking about tax revenues and fail to mention the dollars that are spent in our local businesses. Those dollars allow the working class to stay employed, make a living and then put some of those dollars back into our economy. If you actually spoke to a few local business owners, who actually are working at and running their businesses; our economy is not as strong as you seem to think. A loss of 30 million dollars would be huge and would effect us all.

Instead of complaining, maybe using your time and energy to come up with a realistic solution to replace TC and the money they spend in our community and the tax dollars they generate would be a better use of your time.

Those fields would only be used by TC for 13 weeks the rest of the time they would be used locals...considering the SBS High school baseball and girls softball teams have to travel to Craig to play a so called home game and to practice. I would imagine they and many other local user groups would welcome a few more fields.

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knee_dropper 6 years, 3 months ago

A shortage of jobs does not seem to be a problem in Steamboat presently; the opposite actually seems to hold true, summer or winter. Why doesn't city council try and find a replacement for TC? Something that builds on Steamboats identity and look to the wealth of outdoor activities around town. It just seems that what TC is all about is what not Steamboats identity is built around. Why not look to other mountain towns for models of economic well-being and stability. Being held hostage by ever-increasing demands that bring tourists that seem to stimulate McDonalds more than any other business, clog the roads and litter our town. The city council should take a hard look at where this decision is going to take the town before committing millions more into ball-field infrastructure, road improvements, field maintainance, not to mention the millions of gallons of water needed to keep those fields green. I believe that the Yampa valley is perfectly capable of being able to stay alive economically without TC, whether or not that happens in a sustainable way is another question.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

trump_suit, the local government has not made a case for the expenditure by analyzing the tax revenues and benefits to the community.

More and more taxpayers ("voters") are telling professional sports teams and owners who have been asking the public to pay for with their new stadium (or new arena)...NO!

Put the "request" of TC to a vote of the residents of Steamboat Springs.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

snowman4, I suggest you read or re-read Scott Ford's letter

including:

"the issues when one industry sector, "tourism," and specifically a sub-set identified as Triple Crown, begins to rub against another sector, "lifestyle." The temptation is to look at this as an either/or - and not both - proposition. These economic sectors can happily co-exist. We can, however, only co-exist happily if we set boundaries."

I would guess the "lifestyle" sector of the economy is far larger than the "Triple Crown" sub-set of the "tourism" industry.

Instead of being in a state of denial, maybe the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association ("Chamber") should use its time and energy to come up with a realistic solution to replace TC and the money they spend in our community and the tax dollars they generate would be a better use of their time.

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ybul 6 years, 3 months ago

Replace the jobs.

Market to location neutral business'. Invest in a grain silo, a mill and a bakery to produce breads for the locals, a greenhouse to provide veggies in the winter, a wood pellet factory (to heat peoples houses, keeping heat bills down).

Sit down look at the resource base of the local area, figure out where those dollars that get spent outside the community are going and determine wether or not that is a good place to try and build an economy arround.

Use the funds to buy some buildings, put in several normal style retail outlets, so that locals do no have to go out of the area to by other products. Drawing people in from other local areas who do not want to shop at kmart, walmart or a boutique for their clothes.

I could think of hundreds of ways to create jobs. Lets create wealth generating business, as opposed to wealth extracting business'. The area is blessed with so many assets to not look at how to optimize what is best for the community is too bad.

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bubba 6 years, 3 months ago

snowman4, on your trickle down theory, math check: first of all, at 1.19m sales tax revenue at 4.5%, that's 26 not 'over thirty million' spent. second of all, sales tax in steamboat is over 8% right now, which puts your trickle down number at closer to 13 million spent. It should be mentioned that the study claiming 1.19m was funded by none other than triple crown, so those numbers may be high.

I certainly agree that people coming here to spend money pumps money into our local economy, but further subsidizing this industry is a mistake in my mind because with all that SS has to offer, we continually just go after tourism dollars, which fund businesses that pay their employees peanuts, which in turn generates the need for publicly funded employee housing. If the city wants to spend 7+million dollars to subsidize jobs in this valley, they should spend it subsidizing jobs that pay a living wage! Let's see, land next to an airport with recreational areas all around... someone must want an office there... Get creative folks, worse cities than this with less amenities and airports further away have businesses relocating there for the lifestyle, and all we can come up with is building fields to subsidize more hotel and restaurant jobs? Maybe they have room for a PR/Marketing consultant in their bottomless consultant fund?

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

Very well said bubba. With all that SS has to offer as well as the number of intelligent and well educated people that live here it's a shame that the Boat relys (for the most part) on just skiing and baseball tournaments to survive. Both have a place but diversity is definately the key to prosperity as well as longevity. It's similar to a stock portfolio. A well rounded portfolio has numerous options not just two. You can ride the wave while things are good but what do you do if one of your investments turns sour? What would happen to TC if gas went to $8 a gallon? How many people would participate then? How about a year without significant snowfall? What if both were to occur in the same year? While not probable both certainly are possible. $7 plus million could and should be spent elsewhere. TC should fund its own future not SS funding it for them. Let them come but let THEM pay the price for their own expansion.

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melonie barrett 6 years, 3 months ago

i have lived here for a long time and always thought that this was a family oriented town.so what if they want to build a new ballfield for the kids,i think its the right thing to do.come on people,dig into your tight pockets and donate.

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colobob 6 years, 3 months ago

There are many fine folks that live, work, and play in the boat. Unfortunately all who live here don't have deep pockets as you seem to suggest. Some of the folks here work two and three jobs in order to reside here or just to hold on to what they already have. To suggest that they should dig into their "tight pockets" and donate to a "For Profit" business is ridiculous. While Steamboat is indeed a tourist destination it is also a community made up of a very diverse group of people, some affluent, some not. This diversity is part of what makes Steamboat a healthy and desireable community in which to live. I'm sure there are some that will find your comment inflamitory, I'm of the opinion that you are just out of touch with the majority of the population. Let them (TC) come but let them pay the price for their own expansion.

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elkeye 6 years, 3 months ago

lawmaker...supporters of TC should dig into their tight pockets and donate, but do not ask the taxpayers to fund Triple Crown expansion (or field maintenance) without a vote of the residents.

It is one thing for a voluntary donation to be used for Triple Crown, however it very different to use tax dollars!

The supporters of Triple Crown, including the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, have donated how much?

If the Triple Crown sports complex in Hayden was a priority of the "Chamber" there should have been a serious fund raising effort. Was there No!

If the Triple Crown sports complex near the Steamboat Springs Airport is a priority of the "Chamber" there should be a serious fund raising effort for the land acquisition, construction, financing and maintenance of the complex.

The "Strings in the Mountain" organization was able to raise the funds for the land and construction of the new pavilion, why can't the supporters of Triple Crown raise the funds for a Triple Crown sports complex?

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