Meeks Bay to open with no appeals
The new managers of Meeks Bay Resort will celebrate the official summer opening Friday with a blessing, a reception, tours and educational activities.
The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California was awarded the contract by the U.S. Forest Service to operate the resort and marina in late April. Five organizations bid for the contract, but officials with the forest service believed the Washoe Tribe submitted the best proposal. Any business or bidder who disagreed with decision, had 45 days to appeal. The last date allowed for appeals was June 13.
“It appears there was no appeal,” said Don Lane, supervisory recreation forester with the forest service. “We didn’t expect one, but you never know.”
Appeals had to be post marked by June 13, so there is a slight chance an appeal has yet to make it through the mail system and to the appropriate desk at the forest service. However, with the type of bid the Washoe Tribe submitted, Lane doubts an appeal has been lodged.
“When it was all said and done, Washoe had the best proposal. We wanted a company that would develop the resort appropriately – add the necessary improvements and upgrades,” Lane said, adding that a panel of outside representatives reviewed the proposals and then made its recommendations to the forest supervisor, Juan Palma. “They went out of their way and developed a marketing plan, hired professional consultants, and really had an aggressive approach to running the resort.”
Lane added that Palma also sat down with several of the bidders who were not awarded the contract and went over the reasons behind the ultimate decision. If any of them opted to appeal, the regional forester from San Francisco would come in and review the proposals again. Despite the fact that some people feel there was favoritism in the deal to bring the Washoe Tribe back to the lake, Lane said it simply came down to economics.
“For the first time in over a century, they are trying to re-establish themselves in the basin,” he said. “Now they have a wonderful opportunity to prove themselves as a very capable, aggressive group of running a business in Tahoe. I give them credit, because they really earned that bid. It was strictly business.”
Proving themselves as capable managers will begin Friday at 2 p.m. That is when the resort and marina officially opens for the summer season. A prayer and blessing from the Washoe Tribal Elders will kick the festivities off. It will be followed by opening remarks by Juan Palma, a speech by A. Brian Wallace, chairman of the tribe, introductions of special guests and staff, a reception (from 3 p.m. -5 p.m.), and then tours of the facility. Everything is open to the public.
“We are very excited,” said Kris Knox, director of economic development for the Washoe Tribe. “We are getting an amazing response from not only our neighbors, but from everyone.”
The resort will offer lodging, camping facilities for tents and RVs, and rentals for boats, kayaks, canoes, and other water toys. There is a visitor’s center and retail store, and within two weeks there will also be a coffee bar and pastry area.
“I went out there yesterday (Tuesday), and it was very impressive,” Lane said. “They are doing things way beyond what they had to do. It is going to be a tremendous little resort.”
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