Our View: Let them play ball
Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to give final approval to a contract with Triple Crown Sports on Tuesday, and we urge council members to stay the course and OK the agreement that would allow the youth baseball tournaments to be played on city fields next summer.
Council’s decision in June to not endorse a variance that would have asked the state health department to allow the tournaments to be played in Steamboat last summer was prudent in light of COVID-19, but now, it’s time to prepare for a shift back to some type of normal, and we believe allowing Triple Crown to return, under a new agreement with the city, seems like the right thing to do.
At times, Steamboat Springs and Triple Crown Sports have had a contentious relationship over the years, but we think the organization’s leaders have worked hard to proactively address issues of irresponsible players and parents trashing hotel rooms and parks and have proven themselves to be good partners.
As Parks and Rec Director Angela Cosby reported at the Dec. 15 council meeting, she believes Triple Crown’s bad reputation is undeserved. “They’re great partners to work with; they treat our fields and our staff better than any other group,” she said. She also noted the new contract is an attempt to reduce the impact the tournaments have on the community
Under the newly negotiated contract, tournaments would be limited to youth play only, and no more than 70 teams would compete at one time. It also eliminates the city’s sponsorship fee and requires no capital outlay from the city, which in the past has totaled around $65,000. In addition, Triple Crown has increased its field use fees from $35,000 to $40,000 annually.
At issue: City Council is set to approve a new contract with Triple Crown Sports at its meeting Tuesday.
Our View: Council members should stay the course and bring Triple Crown back to town next summer under a well-negotiated deal that lessens the tournament’s impact on the community.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Kevin Fisher, community representative
• George Danellis, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
Overall, it appears the city has managed to zero out its financial commitment to Triple Crown while at the same time requiring the youth sports organization to increase its investment in field maintenance and lessen its impact by limiting the size of tournaments. City leaders should be commended for drawing a hard line and negotiating this type of contract and doing so in an open and transparent manner.
It’s also important to note that Triple Crown brings business to town with players and families spending money on lodging, food and recreation. Classist comments made by some in our community that these are not the “right type” of visitors for Steamboat are troubling. It is estimated the city generates as much as $340,000 in additional sales tax thanks to Triple Crown, and we think that’s business the local economy needs right now, especially at the start of the summer season.
Based on Triple Crown’s request to the city last summer, we have confidence the organization is ready to do whatever it takes to comply with any local public health orders that may still be in place to keep its players and our community safe.
We also think it will be good for community morale to see kids out playing baseball again on our city fields — a visual representation that we are returning to normal after a very rough year brought on by a global pandemic.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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