Access question fields concerns

Council will meet today to discuss Emerald Park options

— The baseball fields at Emerald Park are proving to be a precious bargaining chip between Triple Crown and Steamboat's negotiating committee.

Both Councilman Paul Strong and Triple Crown founder Dave King said use of the park and its baseball fields are one of the final and the largest issue yet to be resolved before a five-year renewal contract is signed.

At the heart of the issue is a secondary access into Emerald Park.

"As long as there is an access issue with Pamela Lane, we're not willing to put Triple Crown there. I don't want to even look at the issue until that one gets resolved," Strong said.

King agreed and said an access to alleviate the pressure of traffic driving on Pamela Lane has to be solved.

Council members will meet at Emerald Park at noon today to discuss the possibility of another access. Joining the council will be representatives from the Botanic Park and Pamela Lane homeowners, who believe with or without Triple Crown Emerald Park needs a second access.

"Our bottom line is we don't want any additional uses scheduled for the park until the access is resolved," Pamela Lane resident Ed Patalik said.

The city has two alternative plans for a second access; however, they range in price from $450,000 to $4 million.

The cheaper of the two alternatives would extend the existing Trafalgar Drive past the homes on the west side of Pamela Lane and along the rear property lines or along the Yampa River Core Trail to the northwest corner of the existing parking lot.

The more expensive alternative, which ranges from $2 million to $4 million, would mean relocating the Trafalgar access to south of the Hampton Inn and Suites and building a railroad crossing.

If a second access were built, King said he would like to use Emerald Park for local use. Although local use is imperative, King said he thinks his tournaments would be no more of an impact than other events such as sports camps and other tournaments held in the park.

Of the 20 fields the organization uses during its tournament weekends, King said only six are in Steamboat. He sees Emerald Park as a good fit for the 9- and 10 year-old tournament, which is now played on the Strawberry Park fields.

"We don't have a place to play them and right now Strawberry Park is not a championship tournament facility," King said.

Triple Crown and the city's negotiating team are also still discussing the hours of operation the tournaments will run.

Although the city and Triple Crown have until October to sign a contract, King said his organization needs to know this summer where teams will be playing.

By tournament time, which starts around late July, King said marketing brochures would already be handed out to teams.

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