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City puts money to help make groungbreaking deadline

Michael Schneider

In a move to keep the possibility of a 1999 groundbreaking for the Park Avenue Project, the South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency will receive $10,000 from the city to begin the project design.

City Manager Kerry Miller requested $10,000 be transferred from the city’s general revenue funds to the agency to begin designing a drainage basin at Park Avenue and Pine Boulevard. The money reportedly will be paid back to the city.

The agency consists of the city council.



According to Redevelopment Manager Jaye Von Klug, the agency does not have any money to fund the design review of the drainage basin.

Miller said if the council did not vote to allocate the funds to the Park Avenue Project, the spring 1999 projected groundbreaking would be out of the question.



Miller had intended to ask for close to $500,000 for the project, but said due to uncertainty with the amount of risk the city must take, he couldn’t recommend the expenditure based on the current situation.

Adding to the uncertainty was Stan Hansen, Heavenly Ski Resort Vice President.

Heavenly’s parent company, American Skiing Company, received agency approval Tuesday for the transfer of redevelopment rights for both the Park Plaza and the Lake Tahoe Inn.

Hansen said he was unable to give a certain answer that American Ski would be able to proceed in 1999, saying the company is looking for a partner to help finance the Park Plaza time-share project, renamed the Grand Summit.

Hansen repeatedly said, “If we move in 1999,” while speaking before the council.

He pledged American Ski will do “something” in 1999, but couldn’t specify what the extent of their participation would be next year.

Trilogy Development Corporation had agreed to develop the Lake Tahoe Inn, but in a letter from the corporation to the city, Trilogy backed out of the project saying the spring 1999 timeline was too soon for the corporation’s comfort.

Quelling some of the question about American Ski’s commitment to the project, Hansen said the company committed $340,000 to environmental studies for the proposed ski gondola leading from Park Avenue to Heavenly.

Council Member Margo Osti said she was against committing funds to the project until the city had a Disposition and Development Agreement with American Ski Company as she said no DDA could leave the city in a risky position should the deal fall through. Osti did vote for the allocation after Von Klug suggested a faster pay back from the agency.

“We’ll bust our fannies to do Park Avenue in 1999,” Hansen said, admitting he didn’t know when American Ski would be ready to enter into a DDA with the city.

Council Member Kevin Cole said he supported giving the $10,000 to Park Avenue calling the monetary commitment minimal.

“This is a statement of good faith on our part,” Kevin Cole said. “We need to demonstrate our willingness to move on this.

“Ten thousand dollars is keeping our redevelopment vision in focus.”

Hansen said American Ski representatives hope to let the city know within three weeks if they will be able to proceed with Park Avenue in 1999.

American Ski is slated to redevelop two hotels as well as the gondola to Heavenly.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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