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Long road to present

Michael Schneider

In the 1970s, South Lake Tahoe residents realized there were no community recreation facilities on the South Shore which served El Dorado County residents.

City residents became concerned that county residents were using city facilities. Although the county residents were paying recreation fees, their tax dollars did not contribute to city parks as did the tax dollars of city residents.

In the early 1990s, the Golden Bear Park idea surfaced.

It called for the building of a significant regional facility with recreation fields, a community center and hiking and biking trails.

The county picked the Golden Bear area because it was United States Forest Service land purchased with Burton-Santini funds, funds for the acquisition of public lands.

In 1995, an Environmental Impact Report regarding the proposed park was completed leading to significant controversy in the community.

Some residents living near the proposed Golden Bear Park site complained of increased traffic, lights from ball fields and more people in general in their neighborhoods.

Environmental proponents disapproved of the idea of using Burton-Santini lands for a community park, saying the funds were for the acquisition of public lands so they might stay undeveloped.

Recreation providers in the community, such as the city of South Lake Tahoe and schools in the area supported the concept of the park but wanted a concrete plan of how it would be funded.

The battle between these groups and the recreationalists, who just wanted a park in which to play ball, raged for two years.

In fall 1997, all involved in the fight agreed the park search was going nowhere.

All also agreed there was still a significant need for a community park on the South Shore.

During that fall, an agreement was proposed between the city, county, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Lake Tahoe Community College and the Tahoe Paradise Improvement District.

El Dorado County Supervisor John Upton entered the fray and suggested $50,000 of county funds allocated to the Golden Bear project be used to hire J. Dennis Crabb’s firm, as well as another consulting firm from Sacramento, to put together a community-based planning process.

A 25-member community steering committee representing every facet of life on the South Shore has met twice so far, leading to the five proposed park sites.

The group will meet again July 29 and Oct. 2.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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