City Council approves new Recreation and Aquatic Center funding and construction contract

Staff Report
Rendering of the new Recreation and Aquatic Center.
Provided / City of South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – On Tuesday, August 8, City Council unanimously approved the issuance of 2023 Lease Revenue Bonds and a construction agreement with Roebbelen Contracting, Inc. for the Multi-generational Recreation and Aquatic Center. The City will pay the bond debt service from Measure P revenues generated from the 2% Transient Occupancy Tax approved by South Lake Tahoe voters in 2016. Additional sources of funding include $2.7 million of American Rescue Plan Act Funds and up to $1 million of Measure S Sales Tax and $2.6 million of General Funds.

“In the last five years we have seen a significant increase in costs due to inflation and the pandemic. This is the reality of where we are now. For us to move forward, the approval of the bonds is necessary to bring this project to completion. Parks and Recreation is a core service that is essential to our community and City Council needs to vote based on what the community has asked us to do,” stated Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass.

The construction agreement with Roebbelen Contracting, Inc. was approved for $67,851,097 with construction set to begin in May 2024. The bid was 1% below the engineer’s estimate and was considered reasonable for the project. Roebbelen Construction, Inc. based in Sacramento is an award-winning construction company, a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise, and has been in business since 1959.  

The 64,000 state-of-the-art recreation and aquatic center will include fitness program areas, multi-generational community program areas, a six-lane lap pool and lazy river with spray features, roof-top event space, gymnasium with multi-sport options, and an elevated walking/running track.

The existing rec center was built in 1975 and is nearing the end of its useful life, according to Director of Public works Anush Nejad, the new design has been in the making for over a decade.

Despite reservations regarding fiduciary responsibility, Council member Scott Robbins voted in favor of the project.

“$6.3 million was removed from road paving and housing – a victory lap is not deserved,” Robbins added “it’s better than the alternative” which would leave a “hole” where the ground has been broken and construction begun.

The funds are not moved from roads or housing budgets directly, while they could be used for such items, Irvin told the Tribune, “Up to $6.3M of discretionary funds will be used. Of that, $1.9M is required to be used to pay for the commercial kitchen and $2.7M is American Rescue Plan Act monies.”

“I do see some of the concerns around the fiscal issues,” Bass responded, “with inflation and cost of construction it is the reality of the project.”

In the event of a recession Bass added “I think its fiscally responsible to take the $6.3 million out of the general funds so we don’t go over on the Measure P projections, I think that’s what the voters want.”

City council unanimously passed the resolution to take action on financing.

“I look forward to working with Parks and Recreation Director, John Stark, and the Parks Foundation to optimize the use of this facility. Our community will be afforded the opportunity to recreate and engage with their friends and family in what will be an iconic structure on the south shore of Lake Tahoe for many years to come,” stated City Manager Joe Irvin.  

Nejad presented the center agreement resulting from various stakeholder, council members and community at large working together to follow a design bid build protocol secure an acceptable bid from Roebbelen Construction Inc and seven alternates to furnish the facility with integral waterproofing, fire proofing, card readers, paging capabilities and other exercise equipment.  

The start of construction will begin in May 2024, substantial completion is anticipated by November 2025, and final completion is expected by January 2026.

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