Summit softball league resumes after county halts play
Lapsed property lease agreement with Denver Water renewed
The Summit County Softball League resumed play Tuesday, June 22, at the Silverthorne softball fields after a sudden halt last week at the order of Summit County government.
Steve “Smoke” Wilkins, the league’s longtime director, said the county informed him Thursday, June 17, to stop play at the fields below the Dillon Dam. Wilkins said he was informed the stoppage was because a lease agreement between the county and Denver Water — who owns the property — was not in place. Wilkins said that came after the county approved league play on May 8 at the Silverthorne ballfields, which began June 7.
Wilkins informed the league of the stoppage in a Thursday afternoon Facebook post and added he had no further information on the stoppage. Wilkins said by Tuesday morning, he and softball league board members still had received minimal explanation for the stoppage.
“You shouldn’t be nonresponsive about important things,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins was then informed by the county late Tuesday morning that the league could resume play Tuesday evening.
County Manager Scott Vargo on Tuesday said the county expected a long-term renewal with Denver Water to be settled before usage of the fields. The lease agreement signed Tuesday is a short-term extension through the end of October. Vargo said in recent years, the parties have agreed to one-year terms.
Vargo said the lease lapse was due to an oversight. Under a potential 10-year lease, he said the county intends to provide the same recreational activities at the site. In response to speculation from league members about if the stoppage of play was due to potential development of the site, Vargo said the county doesn’t view the site as an appropriate location for workforce housing.
“We’re very confident that Denver Water is a partner with us and they understand the benefit in the community for those recreational facilities,” Vargo said. “And they have not indicated in any way they’d be looking in any other direction.”
Denver Water spokesperson Jose Salas said in a Tuesday afternoon email that there are no plans to sell the property for housing — now or in the future. In a follow-up email, spokesperson Travis Thompson said the lease agreement through October comes with the intention of having the long-term renewal finalized by Oct. 31.
“There are absolutely no plans for us to sell this property,” Thompson said, “(it) would not be possible for any sort of development as it is within the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) boundary of our dam and also within the flood plain.”
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