Interpretive center planned at Heavenly Village station |

Interpretive center planned at Heavenly Village station

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune The closed transit center may become the site of an environmental visitors center.

Bring out the welcome mat.

Seeing an ideal opportunity in a pedestrian-friendly village, organizers for a visitor center at the Heavenly Village Transit station have taken a critical next step in redevelopment of the vacant, city-run building near Stateline.

The California Tahoe Conservancy intends to secure a planning grant in July that would outline the structure and interpretative displays of the site at the Marriott-anchored complex.

CTC may spend up to $20,000 for planning such a venture.

“What we’re looking for is the interpretative point to draw you in,” CTC program coordinator Ray Lacey said during a presentation to the South Lake Tahoe City Council Tuesday.

The council pledged to put the nuts and bolts of the plan on its agenda in June.

The CTC is now looking into the feasibility of the project, which may involve changes in the interior. It now has an office-type environment.

The state agency has contracted with EDAW to come up with ideas on how to treat the center.

Renderings include space for a library, orientation area and concierge desk.

The Sacramento design firm will work with an architectural consultant to dictate changes that would need to occur to make the ideas come to life.

Lacey estimated modifications to the architecture could cost between $100,000 and $200,000.

The challenge may lie in ensuring the center will be self-supporting, as the city’s budget situation bares no room for taking on extra maintenance projects, Mayor Tom Davis said.

The CTC seeks a 20-year commitment from the city to operate the center.

“We’ve got to get this facility to break even,” Davis told Lacey.

Locked and empty, the Heavenly Village Transit Center represents an underutilized opportunity – especially for a different type of tourist the U.S. Forest Service sees at Taylor Creek.

There are six lakewide visitor centers run by a host of agencies.

The Meyers facility serves 75,000 visitors in the summer. It will open Memorial Day weekend.

Over 20 million people visit the basin each year, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency reports.

The bistate regulatory agency is one of nine cooperative partners looking into equipping visitor centers at various sites, including the transit center, Lake Tahoe Airport, California-Nevada Bistate Park and Meyers gateway at the corner of Highways 50 and 89.

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