Ball fields to be built next summer, Public agency delays nearly over |

Ball fields to be built next summer, Public agency delays nearly over

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer

South Lake Tahoe will have three new ball fields by the end of next summer, officials with El Dorado County said Thursday.

Construction of multi-use fields near Lake Tahoe Community College with funds provided by Measure S should begin next May, but preliminary road work off Al Tahoe Boulevard could begin as early as this fall.

The timeline has surprised some who felt the construction of the fields could begin sooner, particularly since many of the regulatory agencies involved supplied the necessary permits prior to this summer.

But each of those permits involved compliance with various regulatory guidelines, which has delayed design and construction plans.

“We have just about finished all of our negotiations (with governmental agencies),” said Gary Hyden, El Dorado County Parks manager. “We’ve had additional things that we’ve been requested to do, but it’s been getting parts of the agency-processing puzzle put together, and we’re there now.”

Hyden said the construction documents are about 90 percent complete.

“I’ve been on projects with wetlands and scenic byways,” he added, “and from an agency standpoint this is one of the more complicated projects I’ve been on.”

The Joint Powers Authority, a panel of government officials that oversees the funds used to build the baseball fields, held a meeting last Tuesday at South Lake Tahoe’s City Council chambers to review revised architectural plans. The plans were revised because the fields had to be realigned to meet Tahoe Regional Planning Agency standards aimed at minimizing impacts to the forest.

Public agencies involved with the project, which include the TRPA, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, South Tahoe Public Utility District and El Dorado County, have been criticized for moving slowly on the project.

“They all said yes, we can do it. But nobody spent the extra man hours making sure all the i’s got dotted and t’s got crossed,” said Danny McLaughlin, chairman of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Commission. “When we got this measure S through, we knew that everybody had concerns that were legitimate and valid. All the agencies are now putting their heads together to construct this in such a way that everybody’s voice is heard and everybody’s needs are met.”

Bottom line, McLaughlin said, is that it’s going to take more time than most people wanted.

Measure S, a $6 million bond measure passed Sept. 19, 2000, by voters in El Dorado County, will subsidize the construction of three multi-use ball fields, a snack shack, restrooms and a maintenance facility. Approximately $1.3 million has been earmarked for this project.

Funds have also been used to build an ice arena, and will be used to make improvements to Tahoe Paradise Resort and by the California Tahoe Conservancy to maintain trails.

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