TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Tahoe City Winter Sports Park will likely return next winter, with hopes of enhancing the new recreational amenity for users, officials said.
The park, a pilot program that ran Dec. 22 to March 10, offered cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking and sledding on a dog-friendly area at the Tahoe City Golf Course to both locals and visitors.
“When we were in the process of buying the golf course … one consistent theme that we heard from the public was that they wanted year-round recreation and wanted more winter recreation, specifically,” said Kelli Twomey, director of resource development and community relations for the Tahoe City Public Utility District.
Adding an ice rink to the winter sports park next winter is under serious consideration, said Bob Bolton, TCPUD director of parks and recreation, last Friday. In order for it to happen, however, the project needs approval from the golf course oversight committee, funding needs to be secured and permits may need to be issued, he said.
“We’re going to be aggressive to try and get that done, but we’re not the total deciding party on whether or not there’s an ice rink,” Bolton said.
The oversight committee is composed of four funding partners — TCPUD, Placer County, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and the airport district — which combined forces to buy the course in 2012 for $4.7 million, with the objective to enhance opportunities for open space, economic vitality, community character, recreation, conservation and safety.
Adding another trail to the winter sports park was a suggestion made by one of eight people who took a survey earlier this year about the service. That survey taker and others also praised the service and staff of the pilot program.
“There are not any more suggestions I can make to improve the service you are providing to the visitors that come to this place,” wrote one survey taker.
Over its 76-day season — 52 days of full operation, with rental equipment provided by Tahoe Cross Country, food and beverages provided by Duncan Golf Management, and the sled hill open — the winter sports park saw 562 trail users.
“It’s not a full count, so it’s actually more than that number,” Bolton said.
Not counted were about 40 Tahoe XC passholders and their reciprocal privileges at the winter sports park; Tahoe Lake School students who used the trails regularly for their physical education programs; those who attended certain special events at the course; and those who used the facility during its 24 days of non-operation, with groomed trails still available those days.
“I think we went in it with the idea that it was going to be successful, so I think it met expectations,” Bolton said. “… We were really satisfied with the turnout, the response, the number of people that came.”
The service also came in under budget. At the Nov. 16 TCPUD board meeting, the board of directors unanimously approved for the winter sports park season not to exceed a budget of $40,000, not including district labor costs for the service. The final TCPUD cost for the season, minus revenue, was $30,626, with an additional $10,211 for labor, supplied by existing and previously budgeted district staff.
“We hope it goes on as long as it possibly can,” Bolton said. “If we’re going to make some investments like an ice rink, then our intent is it will continue for a good period of time … and actually make money.”
The TCPUD received a clean audit for the 2012 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31. The audit, preformed by Mann, Urrutia, Nelson, CPAs & Associates, found there to be no material weakness, no compliance exceptions and no significant deficiencies, but made four recommendations on how to improve internal controls.
Those recommendations revolved around bank reconciliations, journal entry review, cash disbursements process and inventory.
“I am proud of the district’s consistent diligence in being fiscally responsible and receiving another clean audit report,” said Dan Wilkins, vice president of the TCPUD board of directors, who also sits on the Finance Committee, in a statement.
This was the first year that Mann, Urrutia, Nelson, CPA’s & Associates audited TCPUD.
“New auditors always bring a fresh set of eyes, and the team at Mann, Urrutia, Nelson CPA’s & Associates were able to make some great recommendations, which TCPUD staff have already implemented,” Wilkins said.