Steamboat City Council to discuss contract with Triple Crown Sports
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss Tuesday whether to move forward on approving a contract between the city of Steamboat Springs and Triple Crown Sports, Inc.
The move comes after all seven City Council members voted unanimously to not allow the Triple Crown series of youth baseball tournaments to play in Steamboat this summer, citing a then-existing public health order that limited state gatherings to 10 people unless otherwise granted by health officials.
This summer, Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports, had submitted a variance request asking the Routt County Board of Health for the ability to host the tournaments in July and August, according to Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter. The county requested input from City Council before making a decision on whether to forward the variance request to the state.
“If the community says it’s not the right time, we’ll walk away from 2020,” King said. “In the event that the variance doesn’t pass, then Triple Crown will be forced to relocate the events to where they can be played.”
In October, council and Triple Crown each proposed negotiations relating to public health guidelines, field use fees and sponsorship fees from the city, and council members expressed mixed feelings over a partnership with Triple Crown.
Bill Jameson, a Steamboat resident, told council the business community in Steamboat had several oppositions to a negotiation with Triple Crown, mainly due to the repeated weeks and number of participants, most of which come from out of town and do not serve youth in the community like Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club does, which several council members agreed with.
“Don’t make Triple Crown’s problem your problem,” Jameson said. “It’s not your problem to figure out where they’re going to hold events.”
Countering Jameson’s point, King said Triple Crown chooses to play in Steamboat because of its outdoor appeal.
“It’s not easy to get something in a beautiful mountain town like Steamboat,” he said.
As for negotiations to the previous contract, council pushed for a two-year contract rather than the previous five-year, paid field use fees, no city sponsorship, no city capital investment, no more than four events played, up to 70 teams for the largest events and only youth events allowed.
Some council members expressed concerns with the high number of teams coming to Steamboat while public health orders limiting gatherings continue to be in place.
“I don’t see a reality in the two-year time that I think we should have a term in which even 70 teams are going to be allowed to come here,” council member Sonja Macys said in the October meeting. “I think that will be dictated by public health and not us.”
Other council members felt a rolling two-year agreement, which Triple Crown proposed, would not satisfy community members who felt Triple Crown brought more harm than good to the community.
“Obviously, we have a long history with Triple Crown, and there’s been a lot of positives,” said Council President Jason Lacy, “but we’ve also gotten feedback from the community that the impact has been too much, especially over the last several years.”
After about an hour of negotiations between Triple Crown and council, council members directed City Attorney Dan Foote to write a city contract between the two entities allowing Triple Crown to host up to five events as long as they are outside of the “core period” of July through mid-August and to cap the number of teams using city facilities to 70. Council members also agreed on a two-year term length between the two entities.
Council will vote Tuesday on a first reading of the contract. If passed, council will then vote on a second reading in January, before the contract would take effect.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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