Every year, hundreds of minivans sporting team names and hometown mascots arrive in the Yampa Valley.
The Triple Crown softball tournaments held in Craig and Steamboat Springs each summer fill local motels and restaurants with players, parents and fans.
The full economic impact of the tournaments is unknown at this time, but a planned study might soon shed some light on those statistics.
On Tuesday evening, Craig City Council agreed to pitch in with Steamboat Springs and Hayden, to see just what exactly the economic impact of a new sports complex will be on the towns in the valley.
The economic impact study has been in the planning stages for some time, and with the $2,650 contributed by the city of Craig, the ball is rolling to begin the process.
The name of the proposed complex is the Northwest Colorado Sports Complex, and if approved, it likely will be built in Hayden.
"Triple Crown has been looking at this (sports complex) for two to three years now," said Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike. "They were looking at two sites, and the Steamboat site fell through."
The economic impact study is being put together with a $35,000 contribution from the
city of Steamboat Springs, a $2,000 donation from Hayden, and the money approved by the Craig City Council on Tuesday.
"This study will estimate the cost and impact of the sports complex, to use that information as you will," said Winnie Delliquadri of the oversight committee for the study. "It's outside information we can present to city and elected officials that they can use to make decisions."
Corona Research of Denver will conduct the study, and it will look at other communities that have built sports complexes and examine the costs and impacts of that decision.
"We did a study for soccer, but never baseball," Pike said. "We know there's a lot of revenue generated by the tournaments in town."
Triple Crown World Series games are currently played in Craig, Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek, using all available fields well into the night. The organization currently limits the number of teams allowed in the tournament, because of the lack of fields available, Pike said.
While Craig hosts mostly weekend games, Steamboat Springs has to occasionally vacate the fields of Triple Crown players in order to accommodate that city's league games, Delliquadri said.
The committee behind the study is composed of two members each from Steamboat Springs, Craig, Hayden, two at large members, and one from each of Moffat and Routt counties.
"Our duty is to administer the process. We don't make decisions," Pike said. "We get the findings and present them to all economic development groups."
The study is expected to be completed in January, and no plans for beginning construction of the sports complex are underway at this time.
The next economic impact committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 23, at Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave., Hayden.
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or firstname.lastname@example.org.