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Study firm selected

Economic effect of sports center to be examined

Triple Crown Sports officials say Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado should figure out how - and if - they want the company to continue to bring its softball and baseball tournaments to the region each summer.
Brian Ray

— A committee of volunteers has moved one step closer to getting some hard data about what a sports complex could mean for Northwest Colorado.

The committee is working under the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council and has selected a Denver-based firm to compile an economic impact study to measure the effects a new sports complex in Hayden would have on the region.

Triple Crown Sports, a Fort Collins-based organization that sponsors youth and adult sports tournaments, currently uses playing fields in Routt and Moffat counties for its softball and baseball tournaments held throughout the summer. The tournaments bring thousands of participants and spectators to the area each summer. Triple Crown officials have said they will not bring the tournaments back to the region if a new facility is not built to host the games.



Numerous business owners and managers in Steamboat Springs have said the increase in the number of games played this summer has been great for business.

One downtown business manager updated his computer system to track sales that were directly attributable to Triple Crown participants. Brian Day said business increased 38 percent this summer at his store, which sells high-end apparel and merchandise. Triple Crown participants accounted for 69 percent of total sales at the store, he said.



But there are plenty of area residents who question whether the positive impacts from Triple Crown outweigh the negatives, such as increased traffic.

Members of the volunteer committee say the economic impact study will examine all sides of the issue.

“The firm will also conduct case studies to also look at quality-of-life issues and impacts,” said Winnie Delliquadri, who works for the city of Steamboat Springs and staffs the YVEDC.

The economic impact study hopefully will produce some of the answers local officials have been seeking as they explore the possibility of building and paying for a regional sports complex in Hayden, Delliquadri said.

The committee overseeing the impact study process is composed of representatives from Routt County, Rio Blanco County, Moffat County, the town of Hayden and the city of Steamboat Springs.

The committee interviewed two firms and selected Corona Research instead of Economic Planning Systems to carry out the study at a cost not to exceed $37,000. Hayden is providing $2,000 for the study, and Steamboat Springs is paying for the rest.

The proposals from both firms were good, Delliquadri said, but they chose Corona because its end product will offer more flexibility.

“We wanted something a little broader,” said Richard “Festus” Hagin, who is the vice chairman of the volunteer committee.

A draft of the study should be ready by December.

The firm will look at sports complex developments in other communities and use case studies to help gauge the quality-of-life impacts. The study will measure financial scenarios for building and maintaining the complex, as well as retail and lodging tax impacts.

A final report will be drafted along with a computer model.

“The big delivery will be the model,” Delliquadri said, explaining that it basically will be an Excel spreadsheet with a user-friendly interface.

“People can enter the assumptions they want,” Delliquadri said. “It makes for a good set up when we can plug in the numbers and it will tell us what will happen.”

Variables such as how many games are played on the fields and how much money the typical Triple Crown attendee spends can be changed, so people can see different outcomes.

“If you think the number is too high or low, you can plug in a different number,” Delliquadri said.

– To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com


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