El Dorado County buying Tahoe property to establish government center
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County will get a new government campus in South Lake Tahoe.
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Sept. 20, approved the $7.5 million purchase of four buildings on two parcels currently owned by Barton Health, the Tahoe Basin’s nonprofit healthcare provider.
District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel, who represents the Tahoe Basin, could hardly wait to make the motion, which was unanimously approved. She called the purchase at 1111 and 1119 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe the “cherry on top” of her final term.
“This has been a long time coming,” Novasel said. “It’s very exciting.”
“We have been talking for several years about how to get out of our (Tahoe) El Dorado Center; that’s an end-of-life building,” agreed Laura Schwartz, deputy chief administrative officer, who also noted that rebuilding at the current location proved to be cost-prohibitive.
The new buildings offer nearly 17,500 square feet of space, allowing the county to consolidate many services offered in Tahoe onto one site. Plans include moving staff from Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Planning/Building, the Recorder-Clerk’s Office and the Assessor’s Office as well as providing space for the District 5 supervisor to meet with staff and constituents. This reorganization will free up space in the county’s Johnson Center where, Schwartz said, “(We) have our public safety groups in there … bursting at the seams.”
Social Services will remain at the county’s Sandy Way property in South Lake Tahoe.
The Barton Health property covers about 1.77 acres and includes ample parking — a rarity in Tahoe, both Schwartz and Novasel excitedly noted.
During public comment county resident Ken Greenwood, who used to work at the county’s current El Dorado Center in Tahoe, said consolidating departments onto one campus will improve workability. “Finally a feather in our cap, if you will.”
Funding for the property’s purchase comes from the county’s capital reserves, American Rescue Plan Act funds and Public Health funds. The total project amount is budgeted at $10 million as the new buildings will require some remodeling to accommodate staff needs. The county has begun its due diligence process and the sale is expected to close Nov. 15, Schwartz said.
The county plans to sell the old El Dorado Center property with proceeds going back into the county’s capital reserves.
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