Steamboat City Council tables discussion about Triple Crown’s future at Emerald Park
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council needs some extra innings to decide whether or not Triple Crown will be allowed to play ball at Emerald Park in the future.
After nearly three hours of public comment and discussion at a lively meeting Tuesday night, some council members made it clear they don’t want Triple Crown to play in the park until the troublesome access through Pamela Lane is fixed.
Other council members were open to the idea of allowing Triple Crown in as soon as next summer for a pilot program, even if the new access isn’t in place yet.
As the discussion and debate about the Emerald fields dragged on late into the night, the council ultimately tabled the talks about Triple Crown’s future until July 7.
At that meeting, the council wants an outline of how Triple Crown proposes to use Emerald.
City staff is currently negotiating a new five-year agreement with Triple Crown, a big economic driver for the city in the summer.
Parks and community services director John Overstreet said the city is considering allowing Triple Crown into Emerald on a limited basis.
The popular baseball and softball tournament’s desire to use the fields at Emerald has again stirred up a strong debate in the community.
Some community members and the leaders of Yampa River Botanic Park have opposed Triple Crown’s expansion, saying it will bring unwanted noise and traffic and infringe on the serenity of the botanic park.
Other community members went to Citizens Hall on Tuesday night to express support for Triple Crown’s expansion, saying it is a valuable community partner that brings in many visitors and sales tax dollars to the city.
Council member Kenny Reisman suggested there are several solutions that could allow Triple Crown and other youth sports organizations to use Emerald without creating extra traffic and noise.
For example, he said the city could require that participants be shuttled to and from the park from places such as the Meadow’s parking lot near Steamboat Ski Area.
Reisman also pointed out the city’s current ordinance for Emerald Park does not prevent youth sports tournaments, including the one Triple Crown wants to bring to the area.
Like Reisman, council President Bart Kounovsky said he is not willing to rule out more use of the park prior to the access being fixed.
Council members Sonja Macys and Walter Magill, on the other hand, made it clear they do not want to expand usage of the park and accommodate new sports tournaments there until the access is fixed.
Botanic park leaders recently met with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, which supports Triple Crown’s expansion, to discuss possible solutions.
Both sides reported Tuesday they were able to find common ground on several issues, including the need for designated parking and better signage.
They also agreed a long-term solution is needed, and soccer and baseball games shouldn’t be scheduled at the same time.
Before it tabled the Triple Crown discussion, the council voted to have city staff continue to work with the chamber, the botanic park and other interested parties to discuss youth sports games at Emerald and possible solutions in the future.
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