Letter (Jude Wood): Recreation is the heartbeat of Tahoe
Whatever your personal beliefs regarding sports and exercise, no one can deny that Tahoe is a mecca for recreation. Half of our population moved here to enjoy skiing, mountain biking, the lake and the trails, and the other half stayed for the very same reason. What is surprising is that for a town built on recreation and with more Olympic Medals per capita than anywhere else in the world, our community recreation center doesn’t reflect the passion for recreation amongst our citizens.
The rec center, located on Rufus Allen Boulevard, is over 40 years old. It is one story, with a single pool, limited space and looks and feels every one of its years. Lauren Thomaselli and her team work incredibly hard to keep it in working order, but they are fighting a losing battle. The pool can no longer hold a steady temperature, the dome roof requires a herculean effort to put on and off; the pipes are decaying and every room and area shows 40 years of wear and tear. And for a town that prides itself on environmental measures, the rec center is wasting energy in every direction.
We need a recreation center that truly reflects the nature of this town. One that is built to the highest environmental standards and that meets the demands of the community. Included in the new plans are a climbing wall, a lap pool and a children’s pool — so two very different users no longer have to compete for the same space; multipurpose rooms that can hold yoga classes and also be used for community meetings; a walking track — vital for older members of the community, and of huge benefit for runners when the sidewalks and trails are covered in snow; and a huge gymnasium that can be used for large community events, tournaments and our thriving pickle ball and indoor soccer leagues. The new building will have something for everyone and be accessible to all.
How could anyone say “no” to such a fantastic development, particularly when paying for it comes from the tourist dollar? Well, there are those who are concerned about the pool not being available while it is rebuilt; those who are upset that they might have to go elsewhere for their weekly class. To them there is a simple answer. If we don’t vote “Yes” on Measure P, then you might lose the rec center for a lot longer than a year. Without sufficient refurbishment and investment, it may close permanently. I, for one, think that missing one year is a lot better than missing forever. Plus, Lauren is working hard to ensure that rec center swimming and classes will be available at other facilities while the main center is offline, and in such a small town the inconvenience will be minimal.
So please, vote YES on Measure P and give our community the rec center that we deserve.
Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe Executive Director
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.