In an area dependent on tourist dollars, North Shore businesses have a big stake in making it simple for visitors to find their way around Tahoe.
With that in mind, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association is seeking $138,000 in Placer County lodging taxes to organized signs along the Highway 28 and 89 corridor.
"One of the first questions first-time visitors ask is, 'Where is the lake?'" said Placer County's Tahoe Manager Jennifer Merchant, explaining why she will support the funding request at the Jan. 22 meeting of the county's board of supervisors.
The requested funds would not pay for the signs. Instead, the money will be spent to develop a manual that establishes a standardized look and location of signs, according to Ron Treabess, the resort association's director of community partnerships and planning.
A similar sign will be completed in Squaw Valley when the snow recedes, Treabess said.
That $300,000 project refurbished the nearly 50-year-old tower entrance sign to Squaw Valley, and will add five signs throughout the valley.
If the supervisors approve funding next week, the San Diego-based architectural firm Carrier Johnson, responsible for Amtrak's sign program, will create the manual for Tahoe signs, Treabess explained.
Merchant said the designers would face the complex task of reconciling the existing standards of other regulatory agencies on the North Shore that include Caltrans, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, state parks, the county, and the U.S. Forest Service.
The Southern California company tapped a Tahoe design and marketing firm, Wild West Communications Group, for its local expertise, said Wild West co-owner Lolly Kupec.
Her firm will be responsible for consulting with all the private and public stakeholders, including the resort association, local business associations, the California Tahoe Conservancy and both North Shore utility districts.
"There are many different groups that need to put input into the design of this program, in order to serve not only tourists, but locals," Kupec said.
She noted that the group will try to avoid the difficulties seen during the Tahoe City sidewalk project several years ago.
"When we finished the sidewalk program, CalTrans came in and planted signs right in the street-scape. That was their right, [but] we were appalled because they are ugly. Also, they were overkill," Kupec said.