Requests start coming for BID funding | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Requests start coming for BID funding

Susan Wood

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune/ The Tahoe Tallac Association requested funding from the South Lake Tahoe Tourism Promotion Business Improvement District to make the Valhalla building at the Tallac Historic Site a place for artists to show their work. The structure's roof needs fixing.

With its many recreational options and one of the nation’s most recognizable bodies of water in the back yard, ideas abound over how to promote South Lake Tahoe. A business district committee assigned to nurturing marketing concepts heard a handful of proposals Wednesday, ranging from a marathon and bike map to a place for artisans and the Blue World advertising campaign.

And now, the Business Improvement District takes a time-out until Oct. 11.

The BID board made no decisions on the funding requests, which amount to at least $348,000. Any plans to spend BID money (an estimated $280,000 collected this year) will have to wait for a lawsuit that could be in the courts until next March. Two of the three plaintiffs, Patrick Martin and John Cefalu, serve on the board.

The citywide district was formed in February to offset marketing cuts of $753,000 to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce over the last two years. The business fee – a $30 to $3,000 annually per business depending on gross receipt counts – has been mired in controversy since its inception.

Over the last decade, South Lake Tahoe has seen special events and marketing funds dwindle.

“We’re trying to pull together and bring the community back to where it should be,” said Janet McDougall, a grant writer who presented a $10,000 to $15,000 request on behalf of the Tahoe Tallac Association. McDougall was once the city’s redevelopment legal analyst.

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Projects with funding requests:

— The Tallac Association wants the money as part of a $30,000 fund-raising drive to make the Valhalla building at the Tallac Historic Site a place for local artisans to show their work.

“We could use every dollar to come our way,” McDougall said.

The roof of the landmark building needs fixing, she said.

— Also as part of the arts – ski marketer and designer Ty Polastri came forth asking for $15,000 to assist the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival. The event, slated for Dec. 16 and 17, features Lake Tahoe and international adventure filmmakers. The hope is the South Shore-based festival will someday spark a film tour.

— Then, Polastri switched gears and pitched a bike map for Tahoe Region Advocates for Cycling. The group figured it needs $15,000 for the venture.

“If we became a bicycle-friendly community, we’re telling the world we care,” he said.

— Running and other fitness events took center stage when Lake Tahoe Marathon organizer Les Wright, an alternate BID board member, asked for $20,000 for television advertising. Wright’s major event scheduled in October attracts more than 8,000 people – 55 from international destinations.

Wright got an approving nod from fellow board member John Cefalu.

“I can’t say enough about the value of this event,” Cefalu said.

— The marathon is one event to be featured on the LTVA Web site, which touts more than 200,000 new visitors, Executive Director Patrick Kaler said.

The LTVA, which includes the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, promotes a full slate of activities as the South Shore’s biggest tourism agency. It’s asking for up to $209,000, almost 10 percent of its $2.3 million budget.

Kaler said the agency hopes to promote events such as fireworks shows slated for the Fourth of July and Labor Day, National Tourism Week in May, a South Lake Tahoe jazz festival planned in September 2006, a “Bears by the Lake Celebeartion” starting next May and a professional volleyball tournament.

There’s also trade-show support and a $1 million Blue World advertising campaign that includes print, television and other marketing venues including public relations.

— The South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce requested $79,000 for its efforts. Executive Director Duane Wallace said it will take $51,000 to run the visitor center and office on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

Other unbudgeted expenses include a tourism online reservation system, phone network with convention and seminar packets adding up to $28,000.

Next BID meeting

Oct. 11, 5:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers;

1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

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