South Lake Tahoe’s all-year playground gets boost with approval of recreation master plan
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Tahoe’s South Shore may be known by its slogan, “America’s All-Year Playground,” but its recreation-focused amenities still need a boost. That’s why the South Lake Tahoe’s City Council unanimously adopted on Tuesday, Feb. 2, the South Lake Tahoe Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan and Associated Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration.
Lauren Thomaselli, the city’s recreation manager, and Hilary Roverud, deputy director of development services, both spoke in support of the master plan, a joint project between the city and El Dorado County. It kicked off in 2012, when the city recognized recreation as a primary focus of the local economy. The city invested $120,000 toward creation of the master plan, spanning research, community outreach and environmental studies.
Nancy Kerry, the city’s manager, noted that investment in the master plan was “pretty evenly split” — with the county focused on trails and parks and the city focused on recreation and programming.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, and we have some ways to go,” Thomaselli told council of the master-planning process thus far. “This is a community driven plan,” which resulted from “intensive outreach to identify community needs and desires.”
Thomaselli communicated to council key findings from a community survey identifying needed recreation services and amenities. She said the area’s recreation offerings consistently scored low — “that our system is considered confusing and fragmented.” Services and amenities scored low, too, with a specific desire for an improved recreation and swim complex, along with better bike trails. Results of the survey are available to the public on the city’s website.
“Walls are literally crumbling around us at the rec center,” Thomaselli added. “We are in a critical state of failures more and more frequently, which is testing our ability to operate.”
Regan Beach was among areas identified as in need of renovation.
MASTER PLAN ROAD MAP
According to city officials, the South Lake Tahoe Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan seeks to identify projects in five areas — maintenance, renovations and improvements; new park facility and trail development; operations and management; recreation programs, activities and events and regional coordination and collaboration — and it then splits projects into three categories: what the city can do now (“quick wins”), short-term projects and projects spanning the next decade.
“That’s the road map,” Thomaselli said.
Bijou Bike Park was listed as a recent “quick win,” along with baseball field renovations, creation of additional sports fields and bike path expansion and trail resurfacing. Next, Regan Beach is preparing for an upgrade. Its final design is ready for input and will likely move forward.
Grants, as well as partnerships, will be sought to fund future projects.
“The council should be proud of the momentum they created,” Thomaselli added.
Roverud, in turn, noted that the city’s planning commission recommended adoption of the South Lake Tahoe Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan and Associated Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration.
“The planning commission emphasized the importance of finding new revenue sources to fund projects,” she said.
Pete Fink, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee who addressed council during public comment, stressed the importance of finding sources of funding so more projects progress forward.
“It’s really exciting to be part of a plan that’s actually being implemented,” Fink said. “We’re doing it, and let’s keep the ball rolling. … If it’s a nice place to live, it’s a nice place to visit.”
For more information, visit City of South Lake Tahoe’s website: http://www.cityofslt.us.
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