Grego guest column: The wishful thinking of redevelopment in South Lake Tahoe (opinion)
From time to time, and as recently as the last edition of the Tribune, there are articles and letters about the U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project, commonly referred to as the “Loop Road.”
Again, many promises are being made to the public to justify this next level of “redevelopment” in the Stateline area.
Before we accept the promises of today, let’s consider the promises made on April 21, 2000 in the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s 20-page special section entitled “Redevelopment Re-Creating the South Shore” with contributions from many supporters of redevelopment from both the private and public sectors, including the highlights below:
The article, “Park Avenue links Heaven to Earth,” states: “With the gondola’s base proposed for the Park Avenue Redevelopment site and its top on Heavenly’s mountain, the gondola became a focal point and the connecting link for both projects. Because visitors staying near Stateline can reach Heavenly’s slopes without a car, the gondola is expected to reduce the traffic impact of both projects.”
The “Project 3: A plan for the future” article states: “Project 3 plans include two hotels, retail shops, restaurants, an art center, a childcare center, a small manmade lake and a convention center.”
The same article goes on to state: “A much needed child care center will provide children a safe and fun refuge while local parents work and visiting parents enjoy the sites of Tahoe.
“The cornerstone of the project is the convention center on the eastern end, across Stateline Avenue from Harveys … the Project 3 convention center is expected to boost the area economy during the weakest part of its cycle …”
The article “The future of Tahoe Transportation” states: “The Heavenly Gondola in the Park Avenue Project and the convention center in Project 3 may be the flashiest pieces of the city’s redevelopment projects, but the Coordinated Transit System and Intermodal Transit Center are probably the most innovative and ground breaking portion of the plan.
“All the existing bus services operated by the casinos, hotels, ski resorts and the city will be combined into one large fleet and dispatched from a central transit terminal in the Park Avenue Redevelopment Project.”
The article quotes Lewis Feldman, the attorney for the redeployment developers, as saying: “CTS is a true state-of-art integration of proven technologies that have not been utilized simultaneously anywhere in the rest of the world.”
The article goes on to state: “Each bus, large and small, transmits a locator signal to the satellite global positioning system. The dispatch center knows exactly where each bus is located and how many passengers are on board. Visitors to the Intermodal Transit center will even be able to watch the bus movements on a giant map of the community.”
The article further explains how the bus system will work: “…those who need a lift off the main route or who have a long wait for the next bus can use the interactive touch-screen computer kiosk to tell the dispatch center where they are headed and how many in their group. Using the global positioning information, the dispatch center computer locates the closest on demand bus with room for everyone and sends instruction to the bus driver. At the same time, the kiosk computer informs the would-be riders how long before the bus arrives.”
Again, the article quotes Feldman as stating: “An estimated 52,000 vehicles mile will be saved each year with the system.”
In another article, Jaye Von Klug, the redevelopment manager for the city, predicted: “Ten years out, we’ll be looking at how to do a monorail.”
Fast Forward to 2019. There is no convention center, Stateline parking has become impossible, the public bus system has failed to meet its objectives, Project 3 remains incomplete, promises made 20 years ago have been broken and the public trust violated.
For those who believe that this new redevelopment project, the Loop Road, is the way of the future for South Lake Tahoe, I would suggest that you take your children to Project 3’s “child care center” and use the interactive touch-screen computer kiosk to call for a bus to the “small manmade lake” as your next destination.
As writer and philosopher George Santayana once stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Bruce Grego is a South Lake Tahoe resident and former member of City Council.