Silverthorne grapples with negative community impacts of annual pond hockey tournament
The Silverthorne Town Council and town staff are worried the annual Pabst Blue Ribbon Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament has outgrown the town’s North Pond Park. The town is considering scaling the tournament back, changing the date to not fall on a holiday weekend or asking event organizers to change locations.
Recreation and Culture Director Joanne Cook said the event has been growing over the past 10 years, and with that has come more people, parking issues, noise and lights at the park, which is in the middle of a neighborhood.
When the event came to town this year, Cook said staff was mainly concerned with COVID-19 precautions, including limiting the event to about one-quarter of the usual number of participants.
“We do feel like Colorado Pond Hockey has come to that time where we need to work with the producers and set firm timelines, talk about the parking that’s available at the school, how it affects the community and let them know what we’re actually willing to tolerate,” Cook said. “They certainly have an option to either try to move forward and meet those guidelines, or they can start looking for a venue that is larger that can meet their needs.”
Town Manager Ryan Hyland said the event has crept into later hours of the night, which is a burden on neighbors. Hyland also noted that the way parking is set up makes the public tournament look like a private event, which he said should be addressed. He also said closing a road for parking goes beyond a reasonable expectation for the residential community. He noted, though, that he didn’t receive any complaints specific to parking.
“We haven’t received a ton of complaints, but yet, that’s not the sole determinant of if you’re doing something right or not, and we feel like we’ve let this go too far,” Hyland said. “And we’re probably fortunate that we haven’t seen a huge number of complaints, but I know that we are annoying folks to a degree that just doesn’t feel right.”
Hyland added that 10 years ago, the town was trying to bring people in to benefit local businesses. But now, the town is busy on Presidents Day weekend without an event. Council member Mike Spry agreed, stating that as a business owner, he doesn’t need an event to drum up business on a winter holiday weekend.
Hyland said there isn’t a larger facility in town where the event could relocate. Council member Tanya Shattuck suggested that if the tournament has gotten too big for Silverthorne and needs to relocate, the town could offer the space to a smaller promoter.
Hyland said staff will discuss with the event planner how the tournament could be changed and will report back to council.
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