Proposed design breathes new life into South Lake Tahoe’s Regan Beach |

Proposed design breathes new life into South Lake Tahoe’s Regan Beach

Jack Barnwell
The proposed final concept for Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe adds more beachfront access and seating for families and visitors. The City of South Lake Tahoe contracted Design Workshop to produce concept designs as part of the goal to rehabilitate the 70-year-old park.
Art courtesy of Design Workshop |

Regan Beach, on Lakeview Avenue, is 70 years old, with failing infrastructure and limits to what it can offer the community in terms of social gathering and activities.

The City of South Lake Tahoe, as part of its recreation master plan, wants to change that in order to provide locals and visitors a new, vibrant scene for relaxation and play.

“The first impression you will get coming into the area will be a great view of the lake,” said Design Workshop’s Steve Noll.

The city and a consulting company, Design Workshop, revealed their final concept design for Regan Beach during a public workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex.

The plan, while still in the conceptual phase, will maintain Regan Beach’s atmosphere as a locals’ beach while still welcoming tourists.

The concept adds 120 feet of beach and 434 feet of seating along the length of the park. The plan increases beach access, especially for people with disabilities.

“The neighborhood deserves better waterfront access than it has right now,” Noll said.

Community reaction

The final concept came from a collaboration of three public workshops and a survey of 320 people.

Ashley Aminian, a South Lake Tahoe resident who attended the workshop, said the new concept preserved the essence of Regan Beach by simply making it more user-friendlier.

“I think it might make more people living in Al Tahoe visit the beach,” Aminian said. “I like that it is a local area and I want to see it stay that way.”

Many people preferred more beach access instead of grass, including longtime resident John Cefalu, who was also at the meeting.

“I think we need more beach because people enjoy the water’s edge,” Cefalu said.

New features

According to the plan, aging infrastructure will be replaced, more picnic tables will be added and a new adventure area introduced. The concession stand and restrooms will be replaced, and a kayak/paddleboard launch will be added. A natural rock wall will replace the current retaining wall.

The proposed 70-foot rock jetty also separates Regan Beach’s dog water park on the west end from the rest of the area.

The grass lawn would be reduced from 27,051 square feet of lawn to 21,000 square feet, but remain centrally located and adjacent to the proposed adventure park play area.

The adventure park completely replaces current recreational amenities with a more contemporary design.

New adventure play area amenities could include a log scramble, swings, slides, rope and rock climbing, nets and expanded boardwalk.

The current wedding/event lawn will remain where it is, but include new terraced seating facing the lake.

Main beach parking will remain largely unchanged, other than reversing its location and losing one parking spot.

Next steps

City council will make the final decision on design and the next stages, according to John Marino, the assistant public works director.

Designs still need to be finalized and environmental studies will be conducted based on the council’s desire to go forward.

At the moment, the city only funded the initial concept design and public workshops.

“You would be looking at a 12-to-18-month process for that process, depending on a light winter,” Marino said.

The process includes environmental studies and a construction analysis.

One major challenge may be the beach’s current soil. Regan Beach, like the Tahoe Keys, is man-made. If the soil doesn’t meet Lake Tahoe Basin requirements, it would have to be removed and new dirt trucked in.

Overflow parking is another concern in case of large events or weddings.

Recreation manager Lauren Thomaselli said the city would likely build shuttle requirements into its Regan Beach event permitting process.

Marino said that construction costs are still very rough, but estimated between $4 and $6 million. Funding options would be a combination of city money and grant funds. However, he said the project should be pursued.

“We’re looking at a park that is running close to 70 years old, so we have infrastructure failure,” Marino said. “It’s time to replace it and we should look at it holistically as a whole project.”

For more information on the proposed Regan Beach rehabilitation, visit =2495&ADMIN=1.

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