Agency lauds the best designs in Tahoe |

Agency lauds the best designs in Tahoe

Amanda Fehd
First American Title Company won a Best of the Basin award. Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Barton Memorial Hospital emergency room doctor Steve Leman recently got noticed for tearing down a boarded up, partially burned motel and building a new commercial space in its place.

“I had the opportunity to do a little scenic improvement, so I took my best shot and stole every good idea I could find,” Leman said.

If one person plants flowers, then other neighbors will follow suit, he said figuratively.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is banking on the same concept. Each year it recognizes projects for being the best of their kind. Leman, along with the City of South Lake Tahoe and Nevada Department of Transportation, won Best of the Basin awards at last week’s Governing Board meeting in Kings Beach.

Leman said the project was not as hard as he expected. TRPA staff were “benevolent” and the city building department staff were “heroes” who were generous with ideas.

NDOT won for best scenic improvement for a highway barrier it designed to look like a natural rock wall.

And the city won two awards, one for the Ski Run bike trail, another for erosion control improvements at the Park Avenue development.

The city hired landscape architect firm Design Workshop to create a park-like setting for the Park Avenue drainage basins, said principal Steve Noll.

“We wanted to make it more natural and organic in its shape and form, rather than an engineered look,” Noll said. In the process, they saved mature trees and incorporated native wetland plants.

The city added landscaping and lighting to the bike trail at Ski Run with design help from Lumos and Associates in Carson City.

City engineer Bill Williamson said they are working on building more bike lanes with California Tahoe Conservancy funding.

NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said they were able to put safety first with their highway barrier and still create a design to blend into the natural landscape.

“We are proud of it. We put a lot of work into it,” Magruder said. “It did cost a little more, but it was worth it.”

Green building will be a new award category this year to promote the use of energy efficient products and construction materials that have less impact on the environment.

South Shore Best in the Basin winners

— Best public service project: Ski Run Bike Trail by City of South Lake Tahoe

Contractor: Granite Construction

Design engineer: Lumos and Associates

— Best water quality improvement: Park Avenue drainage basin by City of South Lake Tahoe

Designer: Design Workshop

Engineer: Jim Haen

— Best design New Commercial project: First American Title Co. building

Owner: Steve Leman

— Best Scenic Improvement: Cave Rock Barrier and Rail by Nevada Department of Transportation

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