Botanic Park stewards don’t want Triple Crown to take root at Emerald
Steamboat Springs — As the city of Steamboat Springs negotiates a new contract with Triple Crown for 2016 and beyond, stewards of the Yampa River Botanic Park are calling on the city to keep the popular baseball and softball tournament out of a local park.
Botanic Park leaders told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night that they fear Triple Crown’s entrance into the neighboring Emerald Park would bring unwanted noise and traffic to the area and limit local use of the fields.
City staff is considering letting Triple Crown into the park for the first time, but on a limited basis.
“They recognize there is a botanic park, and they don’t want to impact that park in an adverse manner,” Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said of the organizers of the popular baseball tournament. “We’re talking about a limited use schedule.”
He said that could entail only using some of the fields.
Triple Crown has also raised the possibility of utilizing shuttle buses into the park to limit traffic impacts.
The park currently hosts local baseball, soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament and a lacrosse tournament.
Like Triple Crown, the other local tournaments bring teams in from outside Steamboat.
Part of the city’s reasoning for not allowing Triple Crown in to date has been a troublesome access to the park that runs through Pamela Lane.
The city is planning to fix that access as soon as next year with the installation of a new railroad crossing next to the Hampton Inn.
Still, the leaders of the Botanic Park believe new Triple Crown games could bring parking problems and loud noises next to a popular summer attraction that values silence and serenity.
“Imagine yourself madly in love at your wedding (in the park), and suddenly, you hear whistles and screams of kids having a good time,” Botanic Park Board Member Kathy Connell told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night. “That doesn’t jive.”
They also fear the impact Triple Crown would have on local sports.
“Emerald Park was built for local youth because Triple Crown had all the other fields,” the board members wrote in a letter to the council. “If they get this field Triple Crown will predictably increase their use in future years so that local youth will no longer have a field to play on.”
Triple Crown’s desire to host games in Emerald Park has for many years sparked debates in the city.
In 2013, Triple Crown asked the city to use the fields so that it could add about 60 teams to its 2014 Mountain Magic baseball tournament.
Several neighboring residents opposed the proposal at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting held at the time.
The commission agreed that the access to Pamela Lane should be addressed before the city considers letting Triple Crown in.
In deciding what to do about the Emerald fields in the coming years, the city is weighing the needs and desires of two popular and economically impactful entities.
Overstreet said that last year, Triple Crown brought more than 400 teams to the area, and they expect the growth to continue.
Leaders of the Botanic Park estimate that the Botanic Park sees more than 25,000 visitors annually.
“Does it make economic sense to risk spoiling what helps to bring a steady stream of 25,000 visitors to the Botanic Park in order to add one more facility to what Triple Crown already has?,” board members wrote to the council.
Overstreet is hoping the city will finalize a new five-year agreement with Triple Crown by the fall.
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Hayden’s plan to build an industrial park across from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport could eventually include a safer and more direct access road to the airport from U.S. Highway 40.