Council sends snow polo to Rio Grande Park | AspenTimes.com

Council sends snow polo to Rio Grande Park

Janet Urquhart

Next month’s World Snow Polo Championships can take place in Rio Grande Park, but not Wagner Park, Aspen City Council members agreed Tuesday.Organizer Barry Stout appealed to the council after the city’s Special Events Committee and city manager both turned down his request to again hold the two-day tournament at Wagner Park, where it has been for the past three years after using various other venues.Wagner is the more visible locale and has helped the event gain notice, he said. It will be sanctioned this year for the first time by the U.S. Polo Association, bringing even greater attention to both the event and to the resort, Stout predicted. “I just think by putting it down in Rio Grande, we’re going to lose some sponsors, it’s going to lose some participation,” he said.Wagner Park suffers damage from horse urine where a holding pen is created for the mounts, according to Tom Rubel, parks operations superintendent for the city. In addition, the snow has to be compacted for the event, which cuts off air to the turf and can kill it. With the increased use of the park for winter events, Rubel said he is seeking to balance use of the two parks.Holding the Dec. 17-18 polo tournament at Rio Grande gives Wagner Park more breathing room before its use intensifies, he said.The council was split, 3-2, in rejecting Stout’s appeal. Council members Torre and Rachel Richards both were willing to accommodate polo at Wagner at least once more.”I would love to see it go on at Wagner Park for at least one more year,” Torre said, urging the council not to relegate it to Rio Grande Park.”I wouldn’t use the word ‘relegated,’ ” Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss responded. He advocated sending the event outside town, to the city’s Cozy Point Ranch, which offers a much larger playing field.”To hear people talk about it, you’d think Rio Grande was in another county,” Councilman Jack Johnson said. “It’s four blocks away from Wagner Park.”Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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