Envisioning Tahoe’s Future (Opinion)
Special to the Tribune
Comedian George Burns said “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” I understand there are many of us who want to go back to pre-pandemic life, but we must look to the future. It feels like we’ve been on one long “pause,” but time marches on and the challenges we faced before the pandemic are still with us. Some – like wildfires, drought and housing – have even intensified.
That’s why the Tahoe Prosperity Center launched Envision Tahoe: a regional initiative to assess the health of Tahoe’s economy, develop strategies for economic recovery, and make our region’s economy more resilient and inclusive. You can read more about Envision Tahoe on the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s website: tahoeprosperity.org/envision-tahoe.
Another impactful quote is from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” The resiliency and prosperity of Lake Tahoe impacts each of us, and that is why the Tahoe Prosperity Center is asking our neighbors to help us dream it, so we can make Tahoe’s communities a place where all of us can live, work, play and thrive, together.
You can help us “dream it” by taking the Envision Tahoe Community Survey – http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EnvisionTahoe
It is available in Spanish as well –http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EncuestaEnvisionTahoe
We want to hear from local renters, homeowners, employees, business owners, and students: What do you want to see more of in our community in the future? Is it more housing for local workers? Better paying jobs with year-round stability? Higher wages? Less traffic? Better transit? More investment in community amenities? What does a diversified economy look like to you? And maybe you have solutions or challenges we haven’t thought of yet.
We don’t expect everyone to agree – in fact, we’re counting on it, because there is strength in diversity. You and thousands of other local residents can tell us what you want to see changed and prioritized in Lake Tahoe. You can weigh in on issues identified by other community members to help inform how government and community leaders shape their focus. Your responses will directly inform action plans for the region in 2022 creating positive and long-term impacts.
With the participation and dedication of all of Tahoe’s communities and agencies, we could see headlines like these in the next 5-10 years:
“Lake Tahoe businesses and workers thrive”
Small businesses anchor redevelopments that add character, provide quality jobs, revitalize their surroundings, and protect the environment. While we celebrate tourism, we are also consciously building a broader, more resilient health and wellness and entrepreneurial economy.
“Local residents have numerous housing options”
Local college students live on campus; young professionals as well as seniors live in town centers or tiny homes and families live in neighborhoods connected to town with bike paths and transportation.
“Our community is accessible, safe, and resilient”
Attractive transit makes it easy to link feet, bikes and skis with boats, busses and gondolas, and reliably get you and your family around town and around the Basin on your own schedule. Our forests have been treated for wildfire mitigation and Tahoe’s homes are hardened to protect them from fire.
“Visitors respect our community and residents enjoy the amenities”
Trails connect our back doors to town and to the wilderness, with parks, farmers markets, ski slopes, breweries and local businesses. Amenities that residents need are appreciated by visitors such as bike paths connecting communities, restrooms at trailheads and on-demand transit options to get to town, shops, or beaches quickly.
The above headlines are possible. We have engaged voices from throughout the Basin to share perspectives on what people love about Tahoe, what’s threatening our quality of life here, and where we should be investing resources to create more high-wage job opportunities, stable housing options, social services, and community amenities.
Your vision for Tahoe’s future matters, and we want to hear from you. Please take the Envision Tahoe Community Survey today to help create a Tahoe where anyone can live, work, play, and thrive.
Heidi Hill Drum is CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center. She has expertise implementing complex collaborative solutions, which make her especially suited to lead the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s mission of uniting Tahoe’s communities to strengthen regional prosperity.
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