Our community is being offered a tremendous opportunity by the Tahoe Transportation District in its "U.S Highway 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project." It is an opportunity that we cannot afford to let slip by us. As the missing transportation piece, the "Loop Road" is essential to re-building the infrastructure needed to continue moving our community forward.
Re-routing Highway 50 through the Stateline corridor is not a new idea, it has been on the books since my husband and I moved here 33 years ago. It is an old idea, but its time has come, and the changes it promises will be better for the wait. No longer just a plan to relieve traffic congestion, the potential impact of the Loop Road on revitalizing our economy and defining a true downtown community can now be better understood and capitalized on.
The benefits from the Loop Road are abundant and here are just a few:
- Create a downtown gateway and hub that builds a strong South Shore identity and bolsters our local economy. (The recent economic study indicated the potential increase from retail sales alone would be up to $25 million annually.)
- Create a gathering place for residents and visitors with pedestrian-friendly access to restaurants and shopping and other commercial activity.
- Provide opportunities for new business development in a customer friendly environment.
- Address safety issues with improved traffic flow, wider sidewalks, better lighting, and a safe business bypass route that does not impact narrow neighborhood streets.
- Improve housing for approximately 75 households.
- Benefit the environment by installing needed storm drain improvements along the highway and decreasing noise through the core.
- Encourage future investment into our community.
As a Nevada resident with a business in California, the twice daily drive across the state line allowed me to watch frequently, while sitting in traffic the many changes that have improved our greater South Shore community. At times change seemed slow, but the appearance of our community has improved dramatically through the years. The Loop Road Project promises to keep us moving forward with its major investment in our infrastructure that will impact our economy and our vision of community. We will no longer be just a community spread out along a major interstate highway; we will also have a "main street."
Change is rarely easy, and I understand that there is legitimate concern about relocating businesses and residents within the project area. I support all effort to fairly relocate those impacted and at the same time I urge our elected officials to not take a firm position that withdraws the use of eminent domain as a tool that can be used to move this project forward.
Our community has waited for a long time for this opportunity, and now is not the time to be passive on this project. Now is the time to take the opportunity and to move this community revitalization project forward.
- Greta Hambsch is a South Shore resident.