On the Run: Business district shows city’s possibilities
June 4, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Nestled between Heavenly Ski Resort and the azure shores of Lake Tahoe, the Ski Run Boulevard Business Improvement District provides an example of how redevelopment could spark revitalization efforts in South Lake Tahoe, said local business owners.
“The BID is a great instrument for the neighborhood to revitalize itself,” said Mansoor “Elie” Alyeshmerni, owner of Ski Run Marina. “There is energy beyond anything I’ve seen and we’re moving in the right direction.”
The district has been in existence for about seven years, said Brian Des Rochers, President of the Ski Run Boulevard BID.
Business owners within the district contribute 25 percent of their business licenses and property owners are assessed according to lineal feet, he said.
The money currently is used for landscaping improvements in the area which flanks either side of Ski Run Boulevard between Highway 50 and Pioneer Trail.
Des Rochers envisions using the money for marketing the area, and hosting various events like farmers markets and live music.
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“The grand goal in the development of the district is to encourage businesses to set up big events, so the district can establish a critical mass of attraction and success,” he said.
Furthermore, he wants to enhance pedestrian access up and down the district.
“We want to introduce more bike paths, side streets and general pedestrian infrastructure so as to facilitate a vibrancy with people walking, running, jogging and skateboarding,” Des Rochers said.
Alyeshmerni believes the future of the district could be transformative for the entire city.
“My hope is that Ski Run Boulevard will essentially be commercial in the future,” he said. “Up and down the street there could be different businesses with different services provided and trees lining the streets. The area could truly become a strong and beautiful downtown for South Lake Tahoe.”
While both men have high hopes for the future, Des Rochers believes the present provides a foundation for such aspirations.
The Ski Run BID held a “Cleanup On the Run” recently, which saw 40 volunteers contribute time and energy to removing enough debris to necessitate two different trips to the town dump.
Volunteers also planted five pounds of native wildflower seeds.
The activity has already led to a flourishing atmosphere in the district, according to Des Rochers.
“The business vacancy rate in the district is lower than in the town in general,” said Des Rochers.
As the district continues to accrue revenue and make improvements, Alyeshmerni believes the district will become the model for other South Lake Tahoe neighborhoods.
“It behooves the city council to support this neighborhood,” he said. “Going forward, the city should pick a volunteer neighborhood leader from each district and town, who could submit plans regarding revitalization. Ski Run is a great example of what we can accomplish.”