Hal Cole moves in as city’s mayor
After the mayor’s gavel was passed to Hal Cole from Tom Davis at Tuesday night’s South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting, Cole asked the former mayor if he should make an acceptance speech from the podium in front of the council seats.
“Do it where you want,” said Davis as the crowd of about 40 laughed. “You the mayor.”
Cole took the opportunity to outline his goals for the coming year as mayor. The office of mayor rotates each year among city council members.
The new mayor said his first goal is to resolve issues that affect the city’s airport. The airport has been without commercial passenger service for about two years.
“So many big communities don’t have that luxury,” said Cole. “It’s the only one in the basin, and I can’t stand going out there and seeing those buildings sit vacant.
“We should be proud of it.”
Cole said he also wants to resolve the issue of how Transient Occupancy Taxes should be spent for marketing the area to tourists and vacationers.
“We’re obviously at a crossroad and hope to resolve this year what to do with marketing dollars,” said Cole. “We want people to leave with a good feeling and come back and tell their friends.”
The last goal from Mayor Cole was to move the Park Avenue Project, which he said is still in flux, along toward its completion.
“With the new Heavenly (Ski Resort) owners, we hope to come out of this year with firm direction from everyone involved,” said Cole. “The window of opportunity is closing.”
The new mayor said he grew up in the community attending public schools, said he saw the buildings in the Park Avenue area go up in his youth. He said these buildings were not built for the long term and are not capable of attracting the large numbers of visitors seen prior to the 1990s.
“It’s just not working,” said Cole. “We need to update the infrastructure.”
Cole, 48, has lived in South Lake Tahoe for almost 40 years. He graduated from South Tahoe High School in 1966, then from the University of California at Davis with degrees in chemical engineering and international relations.
Cole works in Tahoe as a building contractor and said he concentrates on constructing houses.
A three-year veteran of the City Council, Cole said he will likely only run for re-election should fellow council members Kevin Cole and Margo Osti decide not to run for another term. Although he has made no firm commitment either way, he believes at least one incumbent council member should run in next year’s election.
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