Strong questions Triple Crown’s return |

Strong questions Triple Crown’s return

Christine Metz

Triple Crown said it would not need any more fields for its 2004 season in Steamboat Springs and it expected to bring back the same amount or only a few more teams than it did in 2003.

But City Council President Paul Strong said the question was raised as to whether Triple Crown would be back when the contract expires in 2007.

Representatives from the city and Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association held a conference call with Triple Crown founder Dave King on Tuesday, and an update was given to the City Council that night.

Strong told the council that King had talked about an increase in competition from communities — such as Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Las Vegas with 20 field complexes — wanting to hold tournaments.

“That is something that Steamboat really cannot hope to do,” Strong said. “The long-term prospects for Triple Crown are cloudy, at best.”

At the meeting, King said he needed 10 to 12 fields in Steamboat to continue to bring the national championship tournaments to town. At the current level, the city could hold regional tournaments but not the national tournaments, which bring in more teams that stay longer.

Triple Crown uses six fields in Steamboat and uses other fields in Oak Creek, Hayden and Craig. In August, the city presented plans to King to create more fields.

Under a five-year contract signed in 2002, the city’s negotiating committee and Triple Crown agreed to meet every December to discuss the number of fields needed for the upcoming season and to determine whether the use of Emerald Park remained off the table.

Strong said that Emerald Park was not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting with King.

He said the council is opposed to the use of the park by Triple Crown at this time and should not be considered.

Although Triple Crown does not need additional fields for the 2004 season, Chris Wilson, city director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services, said the city has budgeted $50,000 that could go toward improvements to the ball field at Strawberry Park Middle School. Local and Triple Crown teams could use that field in the future.

Councilwoman Kathy Connell said the city should look outside ball field diamonds for additional recreational activities, such as volleyball and basketball. Connell said the city needs to look at other options as it continues to be funded through sales tax.

“If we don’t have above-ground venues for tourism, we do risk economic problems for the people depending on tourists coming here year-round,” Connell said.

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