Final Prosperity Plan analysis to be presented in August
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Lake Tahoe’s greatest economic opportunities lie in the green building, geotourism and health and wellness industries according to facilitators of an regionally based economic summit.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan – a consortium of representatives from the basin’s private and public sectors spearheaded by a Sacramento-based economic development firm called Applied Development Economics – presented an action plan Thursday morning to a full room at the Embassy Suites in South Lake Tahoe.
The action plan draws on the knowledge and experience of many economic entities regarding how best to stimulate an economy that has been in steady decline for the past decade.
“This is the first time, to my knowledge, there has been a comprehensive basin-wide approach to economic development,” said John Breternitz, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board member and Washoe County Commissioner.
Prosperity plan members will finalize the action plan and present it to the TRPA Governing Board in August.
The plan identified several opportunities for improvement. For example, bringing more high-profile athletic events to Tahoe, such as the Amgen Tour of California bike race, would attract athletes and spectators – boosting the lodging and tourist industry and sparking an investment in green building, said Jason Collin of Barton Home Health.
Tahoe could capitalize on it’s unique position in environmental science by creating an Alpine Research Center, the plan recommends. The research center could house a variety of scientists affiliated with either the private sector or universities. Organizers drew comparisons to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., or the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as both locations provide scientists with a place to conduct research while catering to tourists eager to learn about the local environment.
While both meetings presented opportunities, organizers also gave attendees examples of problems that need to be solved in the basin. For example, sporadic gaps in broadband that creates Internet access problems was identified as a basin-wide businesses problem by the Prosperity Plan.
Another issue repeatedly brought up by local business owners was how to procure financing for investments necessary to spark some of the strategies. Some attendees said that public money and bank loans are difficult to obtain in the current economy. However, the Prosperity Plan’s goal to present a united business front should convince banks wary of lending, some said.
“Banks will come forward when the business community speaks with one voice and has demonstrated it has established a sufficient critical mass,” said Claudia Anderson, president of the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation.
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