$75k matching campaign launched for Ski Run park

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Tahoe Fund and Friends of Ski Run on Monday announced a $75,000 matching campaign for a new community park in South Lake Tahoe.

Ski Run Community Park will transform an empty lot in a neighborhood with no nearby park access into a gathering place for families and kids.

Mmore than 4,000 residents in the Ski Run neighborhood, 55 percent of whom are Hispanic/Latino aren’t walking distance from a park.
Provided/Tahoe Fund

According to the Trust for Public Land, 100 million people in America — including 28 million kids — don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. In the Ski Run neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe, these aren’t just statistics, they are the lived experience of more than 4,000 residents, 55% of whom are Hispanic/Latino.

“Kids deserve fun, safe places to get outside and explore,” said Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund in a press release. “You can help create this space for over a thousand kids in the Ski Run neighborhood. Every donation will be doubled until we reach our goal.”

Four families, Wynn and Lauren Ruji, Lincoln and Galena Else, Chris and Viktoria McNamara and Corey and Marina Rich, successfully purchased the .57-acre empty lot under the banner of nonprofit Friends of Ski Run with the dream of transforming it into a community park.

The lot was once home to the Slalom Inn, which was demolished in 1999 despite sitting in the center of one of South Lake Tahoe’s most crowded neighborhoods. Since then, the lot has sat vacant and served as an unofficial playfield for the neighborhood.

From the start, Friends of Ski Run worked to bring a new approach to park design by involving community members and partners throughout the process. Thirty-five kids from Bijou Elementary and the Boys and Girls Club drew sketches of how they envisioned the park, and elements from those drawings were incorporated into the park design. Landscape architect Ben Fish and Sierra Sustainable Builders are turning the kids’ vision into reality.

Local partners including SOS Outreach, Barton Health, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe are supporting the park by creating historical and environmental education signage, offering bilingual education workshops on exercise, health, and nutrition, and organizing neighborhood clean ups.

“Ski Run Community Park is designed by the people, and for the people,” said Devin Middlebrook, mayor of South Lake Tahoe. “Together, we are building the best park for the neighborhood and paving the path for more community parks in Tahoe.”

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