Master plan works to consolidate recreation
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — City planning commissioners received an in-depth update Thursday, Nov. 12, on a master plan that could reshape recreation in the South Lake Tahoe area.
Hilary Roverud, deputy director of development services, said the Parks, Trails & Recreation Master Plan represents 18 months of work between the city and El Dorado County to consolidate recreation opportunities at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.
She added that one of the master plan’s core philosophies is creating a central group to organize and improve recreation.
“We’re talking about private and public recreation providers and nonprofits that can implement and find funding for projects and programs,” Roverud said.
The plan includes maximizing opportunities for children’s programs and marketing South Shore recreation opportunities.
Roverud said the Community Play Consortium Joint Powers Authority between Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) and the city provides the initial framework for a larger group.
According to Kindred Murillo, LTCC’s president, the city and college are finalizing the partnership.
“We’re coming together to create a one-stop shop to make it easier to schedule events in South Lake Tahoe,” Murillo said.
The new consortium will contract with Lake Tahoe Unified School District to schedule events on fields the city and college plan to build on Al Tahoe Boulevard.
“We think that this consortium helps fortify some of the concepts in the recreation master plan,” Murillo said. “This is a good beginning for future recreation in the South Shore.”
According to Roverud, some projects identified in the master plan have either been completed or are in the works.
The Bijou Bike Park is already complete. Renovation of both the South Lake Tahoe Recreation and Swim Complex and Regan Beach on Lakeview Avenue are in design phases.
El Dorado County is connecting Meyers to South Lake Tahoe with a multi-use path.
In addition, two projects received state funding for the development of recreational paths in South Lake Tahoe. Those projects include California Tahoe Conservancy’s Greenway Shared Use Trail and South Lake Tahoe’s Al Tahoe Boulevard Safety and Mobility Enhancement Project.
“There are already pieces of this master plan in motion,” Roverud said.
The master plan also looks at the future of “The 56 Acres,” or county-owned property that includes Campground by the Lake, the Lake Tahoe Senior Center, the Recreation & Swim Complex and Lakeview Commons.
The city and county will be tasked with identifying land for potential parks, improving public access to the lake and evaluating opportunities for specialized recreation facilities.
Several long-term (six-to-10 year) projects are identified in the plan, including a public events venue, winter recreation facilities, renovation of the city’s ice rink and trailhead development. Short-term goals (two-to-five years) include improvements to Bijou Community Park on Al Tahoe Boulevard, renovating the Recreation & Swim Complex and improvements to Bijou Golf Course.
“Some of the details for those items still aren’t available, so the master plan is looking at them conceptually,” Roverud said.
Securing funding for future projects will be one challenge the master plan needs to address.
“Funding mechanisms are something that needs to be added,” Roverud said.
Some projects, like the current and new fields the college and city will develop, already have funding. The college will provide $1.6 million to refurbish the current artificial turf field, and the city will invest $1.2 million to construct two grass fields in 2016.
Other projects, like the Regan Beach rehabilitation, may depend on grants and a possible voter-approved bond, depending on the direction the city council wishes to head.
Dale Rise, a planning commissioner, agrees that funding will prove a challenge for projects and programs in the master plan.
However, he offered one possible solution that would require voter approval.
“I think we should raise transient occupancy taxes,” Rise said, referring to the city’s bed tax. “Money from that increase can be dedicated to projects in the master plan.”
The city and county sent the master plan to several groups for review and comment, and the public has a chance to weigh in as well. The final day for comment is Nov. 20.
After the comment period ends, staff will make necessary changes based on the responses the city received. The South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission will review the draft plan and make recommendations to the city council for its final adoption.
For more information, visit http://www.cityofslt.us/index.aspx?NID=721. The draft of the master plan is available for review at the Services Center located at 1052 Tata Lane in South Lake Tahoe.