‘Back to the drawing board’: IVGID discusses rec center, grant termination
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The general improvement district Board of Trustees met on Monday, Oct. 24 at the Incline Village Chateau to discuss the formal timeline of the recreation center expansion project and the unfortunate end to the grant agreement with the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation for the expansion.
General Manage Indra Winquest gave a detailed timeline of events leading up to the termination of the grant agreement which helped both trustees and community members understand why the agreement was terminated.
The meeting began with a formal statement read by Winquest on behalf of the district to the community and to the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation.
“On behalf of the Incline Village General Improvement District, we would like to thank the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation for the opportunity to collaborate on a potential Recreation Center Expansion Project,” read Winquest. “In addition, the district would like to take this opportunity to recognize the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the termination of the project and any negative impact as a result.
“Much time and effort has been expended reflecting upon the project and the timeline of events to better understand how we can work together more effectively should such an opportunity to collaborate with an external entity present itself in the future.”
The full statement can be read at http://www.yourtahoeplace.com/news/statement-on-behalf-of-the-district-to-the-community-and-dave-cheryl-duffie.
One of the biggest reflections was the need for clear and concise communication amongst everyone as a district in order to avoid disputes like this in the future. Much of the communication was done verbally through Winquest and his team prior to the Sept. 14 meeting that ultimately decided the fate of the grant agreement. Winquest had staff with him through much of his work, but in hindsight, he wishes he would’ve done some things differently.
“I would’ve preferred looking backwards, to have a trustee involved in some of those meetings,” said Winquest. “That simply did not occur, so that there is another lesson learned on the staff side.”
The foundation made it clear to Winquest that if the project became political by any means, they would have concerns, and they were also not interested in moving forward with a project that had a scope of cost higher than $25 million.
Throughout the meeting, trustees asked Winquest clarifying questions throughout his presentation.
Trustee Matthew Dent spoke on the need for a unanimous vote on both the scope of the design and the support of the overall project.
“I will just say that I knew Sarah was going to vote no probably a day or two before the meeting because Sarah and I talked quite often,” Dent said. “So there was no surprise that she was leaning against supporting the project, given she thought we could do better … I was unaware that we needed to vote for item 2.A and we had to support that. We had two separate items with completely different tasks. One was for unanimous support and one was not.”
Winquest reported that he called each trustee individually to update them on the expectations of the foundation to have unanimous support on both of the agenda items, and thought that he adequately expressed those needs.
“I never thought that there would be a no vote,” Winquest said. “I understood that one, maybe two trustees had serious concerns, which I validated over and over about the modified scope, about the inability to discuss contributing financially. However, staff did everything they could to work with the foundation to come up with an agreement on Option D, which was at $25.6 million … So for me, I felt like their expectations were not unreasonable.”
Winquest stated that after the Sept. 14 meeting, he knew there was a very good possibility the project was dead, but was hoping there would be reconsideration from the foundation. But on Sept. 15, he received the first phone call that the foundation would be withdrawing support as a donor for the project.
Winquest asked Trustee Sara Schmitz if she understood why the Duffield Foundation would not want to move forward knowing one of the trustees does not support the modified scope of the project, to which Schmitz did not at first answer directly. Winquest asked again.
“Had there been clear communication on what the expectation was for the foundation for [agenda item] A, I would’ve voted for it,” Schmitz said. “I did not have that information and I voted like I did.”
Overall, Winquest stood by his statements that he notified each member of the expectations.
“I stand by the statement that I was clear that a unanimous decision was required for both the letter as well as the modified scope of the design,” said Winquest. “However, after having conversations with two of the trustees, they did not walk out of those conversations with the clear picture that I thought, and I have respect for that. So obviously something I learned is I need to double and triple check to make sure that they fully understood what I was explaining. Then, of course, in retrospect, putting that in writing. So I do apologize to the board.”
Moving forward, any work done on the recreation center expansion project will be done with money from the IVGID Capital Improvement Fund. The trustees and Winquest all agreed that the termination of the grant agreement was a huge loss for the community, but all they can do now is do better and move forward.
“I appreciate the fact that we were able to go through this,” said Chairman Tim Callicrate. “We can do better. It’s unfortunate that this project was giving us 90% of what we wanted, and we could have had phase two, but now have nothing. So we’ll get to go back to the drawing board.” To watch the entire meeting visit livestream.com/accounts/3411104.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.