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City fields recognized by Triple Crown

Christine Metz

Triple Crown Sports recognized the Howelsen Hill Complex as the Baseball Facility of the Year at its annual Colorado Baseball Awards Banquet on Oct. 23.

The facility was selected from among 50 other facilities across the state and was chosen because of the improvements made to the field and the quality of the care, Triple Crown’s Colorado Baseball Director Thad Anderson said.

“It is acknowledging we appreciate the ongoing efforts it takes to continue to host these events,” Anderson said.

The quality of the city’s fields has not always been a good subject between the city and Triple Crown founder Dave King. During contract negations in 2002, King told the council the fields were not up to championship standards.

In the contract the city signed, the city agreed invest $75,000, and Triple Crown agreed to put $15,000 into improving the fields. The city used to pay the $75,000 a year directly to Triple Crown.

“We place that money directly into fields, which benefits not only Triple Crown, but all the users,” City Manager Paul Hughes said.

In the past two years, the city has worked on upgrading the infield’s surface and has put in new backstops and fencing for all four of the fields at the Howelsen Hill Complex. The city also built a new gazebo for the area. More than $185,000 has been spent on the fields.

“I am glad to get the recognition. Often times you do things and don’t get recognized,” Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson said.

Plans are for a new pump house and irrigation system. Wilson said part of the annual money for the ball fields have gone into creating a master plan for the facility and a long-term schedule of improvements.

But Anderson said it wasn’t just the improvements that merited the award. He cited strong communication between the city’s staff and Triple Crown organizers and the city’s ability to keep the fields in good shape even at the end of a summer of hard use.

He said that despite the heavy play, the crews had the infields looking green and healthy when television crews taped the Triple Crown World Series at Howelsen Hill.

Having highquality fields contributes to the players’ level of satisfaction with the Triple Crown sports tournaments and their willingness to come back, Anderson said. Although the Howelsen Hill facility stands out, other fields in the area need to be brought up to par, Anderson said.

“This year at Howelsen, I was the most comfortable, and I was proud of where we had people playing,” Anderson said. “If you look up and down the valley, there is still a lot of work to do.”

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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