City receives state award |

City receives state award

Michael Schneider

The city of South Lake Tahoe was honored along with 20 other California cities Monday when it was given the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence at the state Capitol Building in Sacramento.

The award, presented by Gov. Pete Wilson to Councilwoman Margo Osti, was in the area of Public Works and Transportation for the city’s toils on the South “Y” Transfer Project.

Osti pointed out that this was the third award the city had received for the project, including one from the California Department of Transportation for which the city beat out the Hollywood Freeway reconstruction after the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

Not bad for a project that only passed council approval by a 3-2 margin and took place in the midst of Destination 2000 budget and staffing cuts, Osti said.

The South “Y” Project combined public and private resources to turn an inaccessible transit facility and blighted eyesore into the focal point of public transit in the basin, said Clark Goecker, of the California League of Cities.

The League sponsors the awards in Putnam’s name.

Putnam herself was the first woman president of the League of Cities, as well as mayor of Petaluma, Calif. and a supervisor in Sonoma County.

When she died in 1984, the award program she implemented was renamed in her honor.

“Helen’s passion for and dedication to local government were and are inspirations for me and for others who endeavor to serve the public,” Wilson said. “So it’s fitting that these awards bear her name.”

South Lake Tahoe won over 15 other cities which submitted public works and transit projects for consideration including Riverside, Santa Rosa and Palo Alto.

South Lake Tahoe shared the award along with Lompoc, which used water treatment filter material as a substitute for soil to cover its landfills.

Goecker said the South “Y” project has resulted in much-needed visibility for basin transit, and is a major contributing factor in increased use of public transportation in the entire region.

Twenty other California cities received Putnam awards Monday including Pittsburgh, Chula Vista, Fontana, Fairfield, Cerritos, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and San Jose, all Grand Prize winners.

“The cities and officials we’re honoring today have innovated,” Wilson said at the ceremony. “They’ve identified problems, they’ve thought of ways to solve them and they’ve implemented those solutions.”

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