Steamboat council postpones vote on Triple Crown contract
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Council decided Tuesday night to postpone a final vote on a revised contract with Triple Crown Sports.
Council members Heather Sloop and Robin Crossan, who both serve on the contract’s negotiating committee, said they believed council needed more time to discuss such a large issue before approving the contract.
Sloop told council her primary concern was ensuring the contract required there be only 13 members on each baseball team, with no more than 70 teams allowed. She also wanted it specified that camps were only allowed during the week of tournaments.
“My concern is that we’re going to have this build upon itself, and we’re going to have a camp every week,” Sloop said.
Council President Jason Lacy said the goal of postponing the vote and limiting the number of teams was to minimize any negative impact Triple Crown has on the community, which he said many residents expressed concerns about.
“What we’ve been trying to focus on is limiting the impact to the community,” he said. “We’ve trimmed this way back, so really the community impact is less than a third of what it was before.”
All council members said they received a lot of input from residents about Triple Crown’s future in Steamboat with negative comments outweighing the positive.
“We’ve heard from a whole lot of our constituents that they don’t want this contract renewed at all, so we need to make sure the contract is as stringent as possible,” said council member Sonja Macys.
Council member Lisel Petis, who grew up in Steamboat, said Triple Crown has “had issues for decades,” but she added the youth sports organization deserved a chance to correct any negative feelings.
“If Triple Crown can’t repair the relationship with our community in two years then there may be no contract at all,” she said. “They need to take the time and ask themselves how they can treat this community better, so people want them to come back.”
Several members of the public spoke out against the Triple Crown contract during public comments, while others said not inviting Triple Crown back would be detrimental to local businesses that have struggled heavily due to COVID-19.
“This has been the most challenging year we’ve all had to face,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO Kara Stoller. “The business community really does need some assurance that there is hope and something on the books for this summer.”
Jim Hansen, former president of Yampa Valley Youth Baseball, also spoke in favor of Triple Crown and said the organization has always “gone above and beyond” in their support of local sports teams.
“It’s not like we have adult softball like we used to have where it was a little crazy,” Hansen said. “These are great families. They spend money in town, they go to our restaurants, and they truly do support Yampa Valley Youth Baseball.”
Triple Crown did not host tournaments last summer in Steamboat after the council voted against allowing the organization to return amid COVID-19 restrictions that would have required a variance from the state health department.
The council then voted 5-2 at its last meeting in December to move forward on a contract they described as “Triple Crown light.” Under the proposed new contract, Triple Crown would be required to pay $35,000 to $40,000 in field-use fees annually, and the city will not be required to make any capital investments to host the tournaments, nor will the city pay a sponsorship fee. The contract also specifies play is limited to youth events only, with no more than 70 teams for Triple Crown’s largest events.
Lacy said the Triple Crown organization is part of a larger discussion on what tourism in Steamboat should look like in the coming years.
“A lot of people are tired of these events, whether it’s Triple Crown or any event,” he said. “To me, what this really opens up is we really need to have a detailed discussion on how we want tourism to look and how we want to market our community.”
City Council will vote on the contract at its Jan. 19 meeting.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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After several Steamboat Springs Transit drivers caught COVID-19 recently, the operation had to adjust its routes around New Year’s celebrations and The MusicFest at Steamboat, two of the city’s busiest weeks of the year.