Guest column: Bijou Community Park — planning for the future (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest column: Bijou Community Park — planning for the future (opinion)

Steve Noll
Guest Column

Steve Noll

The city of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation commissioners and city staff will host a public workshop at Bijou Community Park, Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 4-6 p.m.

The purpose is to gather input from the community about the types of activities and improvements that should occur in the park. This is the first step in developing a master plan for the park.

WHY THIS AND WHY NOW?

The city of South Lake Tahoe's 2014 Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan (www.cityofslt.us/721/master-plan) identified Bijou Park as an important public facility for the community.

Over recent years various groups have expressed interest to improve and expand uses within the park. Yet without a master plan, these opportunities cannot be considered.

This public workshop is the first step toward developing a master plan specifically for Bijou Park. With a defined direction the city will be able to move forward with improvements, apply for grant funding and entertain users groups that are interested in being part of the park.

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WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE NOW?

If you have not been to Bijou Park recently, you may be surprised about what types of activities and facilities that currently occur.

A few of the larger events hosted at Bijou include the city's Fourth of July parade, Tahoe Chamber's Sample the Sierra Food & Wine Festival, and South Tahoe Earth Day. The annual King of the Lake disc golf tournament includes an important round on the famous 27-hole Bijou disc golf course, the South Lake Tahoe BMX Association hosts weekly races as well as the Northern California State Championship Qualifier, the Bijou Bike Park Association hosts slope style events on the dirt jump features and no shortage of strider bikes rolling around one of two pump tracks on any given day during the summer months.

For those of us who prefer a quiet stroll through the meadow, a round of golf, a barbecue gathering under a gazebo, skate park, fenced in dog park, training agility for police dogs, or a quick game of H-O-R-S-E at the basketball court, Bijou Community Park has you covered.

With all the existing activities at Bijou Community Park, it is no surprise there is a desire to make the park even better.

A LITTLE HISTORY

In 1920, the 9-hole municipal golf course opened, welcoming visitors and locals alike to enjoy a day on the links and has remained mostly unchanged over the years. In 1983, the city of South Lake Tahoe purchased land from the Johnson-Springmeyer family that would later become Bijou golf course.

Bijou Community Park was constructed in 1992. Over the years improvements have been made, yet these were completed without a master plan in place. Needless to say, Bijou Community Park is one of the most popular recreation areas on the South Shore and the space to accommodate additional uses is limited.

Therefore, the master plan is the opportunity to utilize existing space, understand what land is available, and identify appropriate uses that address community needs.

HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD, TELL A FRIEND AND BRING A FRIEND

The vision of Bijou Community Park is to establish a recreation hub that better accommodates the myriad events the park hosts. Tremendous opportunity to enhance this important recreation resource exists and the Parks and Recreation Commission is eager to gather more ideas from the public.

If you are interested in sharing your feedback on how Bijou Community Park can be improved, please attend the public workshop scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 4-6 p.m. A community survey will also be released if you're unable to attend the meeting.

Steve Noll is the South Lake Tahoe Parks & Recreation Commission chair and principal with Design Workshop. This is part of an ongoing series from the Parks & Recreation commissioners to keep the community informed on updates and opportunities. The committee meets the third Thursday of the month at the Parks & Rec Center at 8 a.m.