South Lake Tahoe sorting out details for Bijou bike park
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — South Lake Tahoe officials are proceeding with a long-planned project to build a public bike park at Bijou Community Park in South Lake Tahoe.
The approximately $511,000 project has been in off-and-on discussions since it was first introduced by members of the Bijou Bike Park Association in 2011. But the details of the project, including how it will be operated and maintained, are still being sorted out.
On Tuesday, city councilmembers held a lengthy conversation on the topic, before deciding unanimously to move forward with the project and explore a model in which the park would be owned and operated by the city.
The vote passed 4-0. Councilmember Tom Davis was absent due to a reported sickness.
“I’ve been in government awhile, and I’d be willing to bet there will be a bike park in this town,” Mayor Hal Cole said at the meeting, adding. “My job as steward of the public funds is to make sure it’s done safely for public safety and the welfare of the city’s security. It’s just now a matter of making sure it’s done right.”
Cole’s comments regarding security came after concerns arose over liability, and which entity would take on those responsibilities: The city or the BBPA.
By the end of the conversation, however, and after hearing from several people invested in the formation of the bike park, the answer became clear — the city needs to take on issues of insurance, workers’ compensation and liability if the project is to continue.
Ben Fish, president of the BBPA and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, alluded to this in his discussion with the council.
“If the project was to fall squarely on the shoulders of the (BBPA) volunteers to essentially have the insurance for it, it would kill the project,” Fish said.
Therefore, the council directed the city’s existing recreation implementation committee to work with city staff and come back with a proposal that sorts out some of those details.
So far, the city has agreed to contribute $100,000 to the project, which consists of creating a BMX racetrack, kids learning zone, terrain park and more on about five acres of land at Bijou Park.
More than 20 people voiced their support for the concept at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
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