City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County working together on senior center improvements |

City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County working together on senior center improvements

South Lake Tahoe seniors hope a partnership between the city and El Dorado County will result in long-awaited upgrades to their center.
Caitlin Row / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Local seniors hope a partnership between the city and El Dorado County will result in long-awaited upgrades to their center, located at 3050 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Ken Sands, president of Tahoe Basin Senior Center Committee, Inc., confirmed the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center is in severe disarray and in need of a new roof, an improved kitchen, fresh carpet, an updated heating system and new ceiling tiles to replace damaged ones.

The building operates as a gathering place for seniors — it provides meals and a social atmosphere for activities like card games and dance classes.

“Our furnaces are less than 50-percent efficient,” he said. “We’d like to get the utility bill down.”

The seniors’ ability to upgrade their building has been stifled by a complicated rental agreement between the city, county and Tahoe Basin Senior Center Committee. Sands hopes those complications will ease with a pending land-transfer agreement.

According to South Lake Tahoe city council member Hal Cole, the city leases the senior center from the county, then the seniors lease it from the city. Though the county owns the land and building, the city maintains it.

Cole, along with county supervisor Sue Novasel, is leading the push for a land transfer that would effectively place the building under control of the seniors. The city also earmarked $100,000 from the 2016 budget to help the seniors once the land transfer is in place. Those funds are meant to replace the senior center roof and contribute to many other necessary structure upgrades.

“The senior center should be a refuge,” Cole said. “It’s a really important part of that phase in your life.

“We want to show the seniors and the county that we are willing to invest in this.”

It’s not just the senior center that would be impacted by the land transfer, however. Novasel confirmed that it includes 9.9 acres of improved property, including the senior center, Tahoe South Visitor Center, Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum and the parking lot area.

“We’re moving forward on this,” Novasel explained. “We’re excited about the opportunities and very hopeful that this will all work out.”

Larry Combs, El Dorado County’s chief administrative officer, echoed those sentiments: “The county is working with the city on helping seniors develop the senior center and we’re looking forward to doing that. We would like to do that as soon as we can, and we’re working on the agreement.”

Cole said transferring the almost 10-acre parcel will accommodate landscape renovations visible from Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

“We would like the area to look improved,” he said. “It’s ready to have an investment in it.”

Cole added that he hopes the land transfer is the beginning of a city/county partnership focused on area improvements, including the nearby campground, which is rented from the county and also visible from Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

“They city wants to help,” he said. “We’re trying to clean things up and make that part of town look a little better.”

Sands appreciates the work Cole and the city are putting toward the land transfer and subsequent planned enhancements.

“The city owes it to the seniors,” he said. “We want local control of the senior center, and city council members listen to their voters.”

For more information about the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center and its services, including its nutrition program, visit

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