City Council planning – Goals |

City Council planning – Goals

Sarah Gonser

In their continued efforts to pluck the South Shore community out of economic doldrums, South Lake Tahoe City Council members and staff met Tuesday for an all-day planning session.

The forum, led by free-lance facilitator Bobby McCreary, provided an opportunity for current and former council members and city employees to express their vision for the city and consolidate a rough list of goals and priorities. The last time this was done was five years ago.

The importance of revitalizing the community, and the need for a solid and common vision to fulfill that goal, was central to the discussion.

“We really don’t have that many differences of opinion on our vision of where we want our city to go,” said Kerry Miller, city manager. “Our commitment is strong. And maybe certain projects won’t happen this year, but that doesn’t diminish the strength of the vision.”

Nevertheless, Council member Bill Crawford expressed his concern that some projects, especially after repeated delays and complications in planning, approval, funding and implementation, might not be in the city’s best interest.

“My concern is that we not get hung-up on a certain vision,” Crawford said. “It’s not unusual to fall in love with an image and consequently not see the larger picture and other opportunities of where we want to go.”

Despite these concerns, the 13 participants established some rough goals – which will be further finalized in a spring meeting – concerning redevelopment, economic development, image and the improvement of quality of life for South Shore residents.

In terms of housing, the staff and council members discussed actively encouraging El Dorado and Douglas counties to provide affordable housing and replace every unit removed on a one-by-one basis. They also reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing property rehabilitation, instead of new construction, in the ongoing effort to develop affordable housing.

“We also need to make sure the services we’re providing in terms of housing rehabilitation are meeting the needs of our community,” Miller said.

Participants stressed their commitment to developing a pedestrian-friendly city, providing a coordinated transit system, completing the U.S. Highway 50 curb/gutter/sidewalk project, doubling the general aviation business in three years and the continual upgrades of city infrastructures.

Project 3 and Park Avenue redevelopment were also cited among the goals, as well as developing a plan to encourage the revitalization of community businesses.

“We need to do something to encourage our small businesses to expand and remodel,” said Council member Tom Davis. “We have to figure out something that we can do to give them the incentive to do that, a total incentive package.”

Participants discussed the possibility of hiring a public information officer who would serve as grant writer and mouthpiece between the city, the community and the press.

“I think we as a community would benefit greatly by having someone to get information out there,” Miller said. “But it’s the old: you got rid of the fire chief, how are you going to justify hiring a (public information officer). Well, I think we need to break out of that.”

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