Litterbugsblamed forpark’s closure | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Litterbugsblamed forpark’s closure

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Louise Tremblay, left, and her mom, Theresa, take a break in the skate park while cross country skiing through Bijou Park on Sunday morning. They use the park a few times each week.
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After a revolving door of changes in the last few weeks, Bijou Community Park will undergo yet another look at its main access point in the hopes of securing the grounds and deterring illegal trash dumping.

The city plans to install a gate that staff will build for an estimated $500 for the popular Al Tahoe Boulevard entrance.

First, boulders were placed there at the 37-acre park and vehicles were sticking out on the road. Though no known reports have been lodged, police Lt. Martin Hewlett said vehicles could be towed or ticketed if they become obstacles.

So to make room, the boulders were replaced by traffic cones.

The gate, which will be closed between Nov. 1 and March 31, will be set back from Al Tahoe to accommodate at least 10 vehicles if the snow isn’t too deep, City Manager Dave Jinkens announced last week. Otherwise, city budget cuts have reduced services such as plowing the entry road.

City staff claims the gate – an idea management says was in the works for quite a while – should close off the park to unwanted traffic of those who dump trash ranging from old refrigerators at the entrance to miscellaneous garbage in the cans scattered around the grounds.

“It happens all the time out there,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Steve Weiss said.

When large items such as sofas are dumped, Weiss estimated it costs the city about $50 to discard the item at South Tahoe Refuse.

But to longtime locals who have come to expect the park open, limiting access is a hindrance and safety hazard at times when vehicles poke out on Al Tahoe – a major connecting artery between Pioneer Trail and Highway 50.

Louise Tremblay would like to see the road plowed part way up to a pull-out area, so there’s more room to maneuver around the vehicle. She uses the park a few times a week in the winter as a cross country ski route.

“I have my 82-year-old mother with me. I don’t want her out in traffic. And up here, it’s way safer for kids,” Tremblay said Sunday, pointing to an area near the concession stand. She adding she was surprised by the boulders, saying: “I thought, well, they must have trouble.”

When told of the trash problem, Tremblay said she’s never noticed any trash.

Matt Egan, who uses the park in the winter to brush up on his disc golf skills, agreed with Tremblay.

“Maybe there was trash 10 or 15 years ago, but I haven’t seen it,” Egan said Sunday.

He also questioned the extent of budget problems when new revenue sources such as a new concessionaire stand next to the skateboard park were brought in.

It’s been tough for players to gather off the Al Tahoe entrance – especially with the boulders on the road.

“In the first few days, I kept asking people if they got a ticket. Then, I’d tell them to park at the (Happy Homestead) Cemetery or the police department,” he said.

Siding with Tremblay, Egan said the ideal scenario would be for the city to find the resources to plow part of the way in Bijou to allow for more parking.

Community Development Director Teri Jamin said if time permits city plows may “take a swipe” at the entrance. From the looks of the asphalt at the entrance Sunday, the plow had gone through the area.

In addition to erecting a gate, the city, as it always has, plans to keep its restrooms closed and refrain from trash pick up from Nov. 1 through March 31.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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