Bob Enever: Strike out fields
June 1, 2008
Steamboat Springs — I hope the City Council will not seriously contemplate building fields for Triple Crown. Consider:
– An earlier council built an airport terminal for Continental Airlines. Continental terminated service to Steamboat a few months later and left us citizens with a debt that we are still paying for. Why would anyone think that a deal with Triple Crown is safer than with Continental Airlines?
– The “first shot across the bow” estimate of $7.5 million might turn out to be an actual cost of $15 million or more: remember the Tennis Center?
– Why would we, the community, choose to make such a large investment in order to place the fate of our summer tourist business in the hands of one man?
– The much-ballyhooed $1.19 million of tax loss if Triple Crown goes away assumes that no tourist will come to fill a hotel room or a restaurant table, this at the peak summer tourist season of the year. Some will come because Triple Crown is not here.
– If there is some loss of business for a year or two (and there may not be), that would be because of the past short-sightedness of putting all the eggs in one basket. It is not a reason to continue to make the same mistake in the future. We must recognize past mistakes and move ahead.
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– Would it not make sense to develop a long-term summer marketing strategy that uses the known marketing strengths of the community? For example, art galleries, music concerts, botanic park, fly fishing, biking, gondola rides, stables, llama-trekking. What about our restaurants and bars, shopping, free bus, balloon rides and guest ranches? Such a strategy would market to individuals, not groups, and would spread the risk.
– Such a strategy would bring visitors more compatible with the people who have bought condominiums here, who chose to retire here or who bought a home from which to telecommute. Many local business owners are included here. Together, these quiet people form a large segment of our population, and their views should be considered.
– The city’s current budget provides a direct subsidy of $636,000 to the Chamber. This gives the City Council the right – nay, the obligation – to require a less risky summer marketing strategy.