Sunday, February 22, 2009
Editorial Board, February 2009 through May 2009
- Suzanne Schlicht, general manager
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Mike Lawrence, city editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- Paul Hughes, community representative
- Gail Smith, community representative
Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
Steamboat Springs officials should aggressively pursue a deal with the World Softball League to bring a men's softball tournament to Northwest Colorado for three days this summer. Failing to do so would jeopardize an opportunity to bring in thousands of visitors and the sales tax revenues they would generate.
As the city considers slashing millions more from its 2009 budget, it's hard to fathom why officials would consider turning away the prospect of new business - or any business, for that matter. Of course, we all know the reason - years of local division about Triple Crown tournaments and their impact on our city.
We think there's a way for the city to alleviate or eliminate any negative impacts of adult softball tournaments while also bringing much-needed business to the valley.
The World Softball League has proposed a national adult men's slow-pitch softball tournament that would bring 150 or more teams to Steamboat from Aug. 14 to 16. Fields in Hayden and Craig would need to be secured to help meet the tournament's needs.
City officials have reacted coolly to the World Softball League proposal, primarily because of residents' long history of Triple Crown angst. Some have suggested limiting the tournament to 15 to 25 teams this summer and possibly expanding it in future years if it's a success.
We think that's the wrong approach. Instead, encourage the World Softball League to bring a full complement of teams while also agreeing to a list of demands similar to what the city and Triple Crown negotiated years ago. As such, Steamboat Springs should require that WSL officials have clear rules for their tournament participants and that violating those rules results in disqualification from the tournament. Those rules should emphasize behavior and conduct on and off the field. WSL should place employees in hotels and condo complexes where their teams are staying, and they should closely monitor those athletes and their behavior.
Minimizing the oversight needed from our police and parks and recreation employees during the tournament is good for the city and the World Softball League. So is bringing thousands of visitors to our resort community in the middle of summer. As City Councilman Jon Quinn pointed out during last week's council meeting, this could be the beginning of a positive, long-term relationship between the city and the World Softball League. And if it doesn't work out, so be it.
Bottom line: If Aspen can deal with the X Games year in and year out, Steamboat Springs can handle a three-day adult softball tournament. Tourism is down and so are sales tax revenues, and nobody expects either to significantly rebound anytime soon. And on Friday, we learned the city is considering furloughs for its employees that could amount to 10 percent pay cuts.
We don't think the city and its residents can afford to strike out on this deal.