Matthew Renda
Sierra Sun

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August 25, 2011
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PUD looks to buy Tahoe City Golf Course

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Tahoe City Public Utility District has a $4.5 million offer on the table to buy the Tahoe City Golf Course, officials confirmed this week.

“There is strong support to keep the property in the community, as opposed to in the hands of a private developer,” said TCPUD General Manager Cindy Gustafson during a Tuesday interview at her office.

The TCPUD board of directors authorized Gustafson to proceed with the offer at the Aug. 12 meeting. The district is seeking a public buying partner to help cover the cost, she said, considering the board has no interest in the district becoming sole owners and operators of the property.

The Becholt family currently owns the course, and has since 1948.

“We’ve talked to Placer County, Placer County Redevelopment Agency and the California Tahoe Conservancy,” Gustafson said. “The conversations have been positive, but obviously a lot of work needs to be done.”

Funds to help purchase the property would be funneled from TCPUD’s parks and recreation budget, Gustafson said, which is kept separate from the sewer and water fund.

“We are committed to funding some portion of the purchase,” she said. “But, obviously, we don’t have $4.5 million in our budget.”

The property would continue to operate as a golf course in the near-term, although the district is unsure whether it would assume operating responsibilities or enlist a concessionaire to manage the course, Gustafson said.

Regarding the long-term, Gustafson said the district is open to what the community wants.

“We’re not sure what to do with the property, but one thing we can guarantee is that the entire community will be involved in the decision-making process,” she said, adding that whatever may be established on the property would have to fit within the district’s mission of parks and recreation.

The district is pursuing the property due to the owners dropping their selling price significantly from $19 million, Gustafson said; the district expects to hear whether its offer will be accepted in late August or early September.

Steve Swigard, long-time business owner and Tahoe City local, expressed support of the district’s pursuit, according to an audio recording of the Aug. 12 meeting.

“I strongly encourage you to move forward,” he said during public comment. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the community.”

At the same meeting, civil engineer Gary Davis said the property could potentially function as a “great public asset.”

Members of the Tahoe City Golf Course management team declined comment on Thursday.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 25, 2011 08:07PM Published Aug 25, 2011 08:00PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.