New site for City Hall pondered
South Lake Tahoe leaders will take up the question of moving some of the city’s departments to a new home at the Lake Tahoe Airport, when they meet this morning in special session.
Up for discussion, direction and possible action is whether to relocate some of its departments to the site, which has been considered for nearly four decades.
Time is not on the side of the city. The lease on the Council Chambers building, located at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd., expires in February, with the landlord raising the rent. The city shells out about $120,000 annually to house the council chambers, along with the Planning, Building and Community Development departments.
There’s no estimate of cost on moving the 19 staffers and equipment, but anything could be better than the cost of rent, said City Manager Dave Jinkens. The city owns the airport terminal, where the departments would be housed. Redevelopment and Housing offices are already located on the bottom floor of the terminal, and Jinkens expects the upper floor to be used.
“We’ve got to get out of this building,” Jinkens said earlier this month of the continual drain on the budget.
Talk of having a city hall has circulated for 40 years. Various locations have been debated, including a controversial one to once place it in Bijou Community Park. In addition, city and county officials are not leaning toward using the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce offices on Lake Tahoe Boulevard – another building it owns.
The City Council approved the concept for an ambitious government center complex at the airport that would combine all or most city departments, El Dorado County units in Tahoe and private enterprise. As part of the concept, a building is planned in the parking lot with a bridge connecting that structure with the terminal.
The 60,000-square-foot government center complex proposal was spun out of a design forum outlined by Design Workshop. The remodel and construction – estimated in millions of dollars – would take at least three years to complete, the projected time of the temporary move.
In any case, the airport would need to be somewhat revamped for the temporary move because the terminal was built in the 1960s. The Federal Aviation Administration has given its OK for the city to proceed, if airport operations are not interfered with. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency would need to provide permits for such a venture.
– Tribune staff writer Susan Wood contributed to this report