City breaks ground on new Recreation Center |

City breaks ground on new Recreation Center

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. After several years of planning, officials from the city of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County gathered Tuesday to break ground on the new Recreation and Aquatics Center. 

Several hundred community members gathered on the lake side of 56-Acres near the El Dorado County library. 

The event started with a speech by City Manager Joe Irvin, who described the groundbreaking as a “momentous day” for the City.

South Lake Tahoe City Council members gathered on Tuesday, Aug. 2, to break ground on the new recreation center.
Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The seed was first planted in 2010 when the Department of Public Works started discussing the aging infrastructure of the current recreation center which was built in 1975. 

However, Irvin gives credit to the collaboration between the city of the South Lake Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Lodging Association which decided, in 2016, to place Measure P on the ballot. 

Voters approved the 2% transient occupancy tax which is being used to fund this project, as well as future recreation projects. 

Irvin also thanked the current members of the City Council, all of whom were in attendance and county supervisors Sue Novasel and Wendy Thomas who were also in attendance, as well as past board and council members. 

“I cannot thank everybody enough. We’re blessed to be right here in this beautiful place,” Irvin said. “We had a vision and it’s coming to fruition. It’s been a long process, it likely started with a vision and a talk over a cup of coffee, a vision to build a multigenerational recreation and aquatics center, a building which expresses and defines who South Lake Tahoe is, right in the heart of our city.” 

Mayor Devin Middlebrook also spoke during the event. 

Members of the City Council, and Parks and Recreation Commission, along with Supervisors Sue Novasel and Wendy Thomas and City Manager Joe Irvin.
Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

“As someone who grew up playing and enjoying the old rec center which was built in 1975, I have fond memories of swimming in the pool, playing basketball, poorly, in the gym and playing Oregon Trail on computers that were running Windows 97 and I think all of those same amenities are still there today,” Middlebrook said. “So, it really is great that upgrading this facility and we’re going to have a new recreation facility for many generations in our community to come.” 

The City is able to pursue this project because of a land swap with El Dorado County. Novasel spoke on behalf of the county stating that as (former) landowners, they couldn’t be happier with the vision for the land. 

“It’s always held a special place in my heart and for many of us, this is our Central Park,” Novasel said. 

Parks and Recreation Board Chair Jerry Bindel also spoke, as well as the architects responsible for the project. 

Phase 1 of the project, which includes site and utility work, is set to be completed November 2022. Phase 2 is scheduled to being summer 2023. 

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