Our view: Triple Crown agreement is a home run | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Triple Crown agreement is a home run

Triple Crown has a somewhat contentious history in Steamboat Springs. For years, the community has had a love-hate relationship with the baseball organization that brings hundreds of families to town for tournaments in the summer. With that influx of baseball fans comes increased sales tax revenue for the city along with issues that often accompany large groups, like increased trash, full parking lots, crowded restaurants and sometimes, rowdy fans.

In the past, the contract between Triple Crown and the city of Steamboat Springs was handled administratively, with very little input from community members, and we believe that helped contribute to a general mistrust of the process and the organization.

In recent years, city leaders have chosen to discuss the contract in open session, which has made the process more transparent and allowed community groups and individual residents impacted by Triple Crown to feel as if their concerns were heard.

At a glance

At issue: City leaders have decided to allow Triple Crown to use Emerald Park youth baseball fields for the first time this summer for tournament play.

Our view: The decision shows how open dialogue and community input can produce positive outcomes.

Editorial Board
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Robin Stone, community representative
• Steve Hofman, community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@
SteamboatPilot.com
.

This open dialogue was on display last week when Triple Crown organizers, city officials and community stakeholders discussed Triple Crown's request to utilize Emerald Park baseball fields this summer because the fields they normally use in Hayden would not be available. Again, city leaders opted to hold the discussion during a public work session even though the amendment to the contract could have been handled administratively without community input.

The loss of the fields in neighboring Hayden opened the door to the request, and after a robust public discussion, it was decided to allow Triple Crown to utilize Emerald Park fields on a one-year trial basis. This decision in our opinion is a reasonable one and demonstrates how open dialogue between stakeholders can positively impact the decision-making process.

Rather than approving a multi-year agreement with Triple Crown to use Emerald Park baseball diamonds, the city negotiated a shorter-term agreement, which puts the responsibility on the organization to prove itself and live up to its commitments.

Triple Crown organizers will use Emerald Park fields for 19 days over the course of five tournaments, which will be played between June and August. Play will be limited to tournaments, and the fields will not be used for practice. The schedule also does not conflict with tournaments or practices for the Steamboat Soccer Club or Yampa Valley Baseball Association.

Triple Crown will also pay user fees for the Emerald fields, which is not something the organization has paid in the past. In addition, the organization will cover the cost of providing one community service officer for each day the fields are in use and increase its $15,000 annual contribution to the city's capital improvement fund by $4,285.

Triple Crown has also promised to assist with parking to ensure teams aren't parking on Pamela Lane, and they have agreed to schedule games around any weddings or special events being held at the Yampa River Botanic Park.

These requirements should minimize the impact Triple Crown has on the park and adjoining neighborhood as well as on city resources.

And the beauty of the agreement lies in the fact that if Triple Crown doesn't live up to the conditions, the city can decide to deny use of the Emerald Park fields in future contracts. We'd like to believe this arrangement will incentivize Triple Crown to be a good community partner, which is a win-win for the organization, Steamboat Springs and those youngsters who just want to hear, “let’s play ball.”

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