Citing safety, city will keep fence around STIC |

Citing safety, city will keep fence around STIC

Michael Schneider

City acquisition of the fence surrounding the South Tahoe Ice Center was approved Tuesday by the South Lake Tahoe City Council.

The item was pulled from the consent calendar for discussion by several council members, including Tom Davis. The former mayor said he remembered the project was initially to be completed with only private funds.

Davis said some of the creditors, other than Tahoe Fence who currently owns the fence, had not been paid for their contributions to the STIC. He said he didn’t like the precedent the city would set by paying one creditor in full when others hadn’t received any payment.

City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo said the council didn’t have much choice regarding the fence. Letting Tahoe Fence tear it down would create potential public hazards, she said.

Parks Superintendent Steve Weiss said should the city not pay the fence company, the fence would be removed and salvaged for parts.

“I cannot stress the importance of some kind of fence enough,” DiCamillo said.

In support of letting the fence be repossessed, Davis said the ponds on U.S. Highway 50 in the Ski Run area are not fenced, and he didn’t see the difference.

Weiss told the council 40,000 to 50,000 people use the Campground by the Lake each year, which is located next to the remains of the ice rink.

“There’s no lighting there,” Weiss said. “I would be concerned about the inherent danger.”

Weiss, along with City Manager Kerry Miller, also argued the fence would help attract a future developer for the rink.

Miller said the city would put together a Request For Proposals by the end of the first week of May. After council approval and circulation of the RFP to potentially interested parties, Miller said the closing date for bids on the rink would be June 30.

Should at least one party come forward with a proposal, the council will recommend a developer in July.

“The rink could be ready for use by next winter,” Miller said, saying construction could begin in August.

Safety still seemed to be on the minds of council members as they approved the original motion.

“Our overriding concern is safety,” Council Member Kevin Cole said. “It’s probably the prudent thing to do.”

“If someone got hurt, in retrospect, the $19,000 (needed for acquisition of the fence) would seem like nothing,” Davis said.

The money will come from the Parks and Recreation Special Revenue Fund.

According to Weiss’ staff report, any new developer would be required to pay the city back for the fence as well as a $15,000 water line the city paid to relocated when the project began.

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