Letter: Let’s work together to improve South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: Let’s work together to improve South Lake Tahoe

The U.S. Highway 50 project is the continued revitalization that South Lake Tahoe needs.

While many argue that it will only benefit big development, that statement is simply not true — and you only have to look to the mix of local businesses that are prospering in the Heavenly Village for proof. From locally owned retail stores like Sealed with a Kiss and Powder House, to restaurants like Base Camp Pizza, the area is a draw for residents and tourists because of its uniquely Tahoe offerings combined with its pedestrian-friendly nature and amenities.

Along with the Crescent V Shopping Center and The Chateau, the downtown district has become a gathering place that generates significant foot traffic. The U.S. Highway 50 project will only build on this success and create a more attractive experience for both residents and visitors. This in turn relates to larger revenue for the city in the form of taxes.

The community needs this type of continued revitalization for the good of the people and the environment. People were opposed to many of the significant projects that have changed South Lake Tahoe over the last 16 years — Harrison Avenue, Heavenly Village, Ski Run — but the results can speak for themselves. We have a more attractive, environmentally sensitive and functioning community.

Benefits include:

Reducing congestion and therefore cutting vehicle emissions;

A safer “Main Street” for community gatherings and events;

Encouraging visitors to get out of their cars and explore by walking, biking and public transit;

Increasing visitor spending and encouraging more private investment in the area; and

Making good use of available federal funds that can only be expended for these type of projects.

This project can be built in a way to minimize disruption to local business. Before beginning work on the current highway the alternate route would be completed, therefore maintaining access to local businesses throughout the process.

I encourage anyone with concerns to take advantage of the information available to educate themselves. Come to an open house, be a part of the upcoming comment period and get involved. This project has already changed for the better from these robust public workshops and committees.

We need to work together to continue to improve and protect Lake Tahoe for all interest groups, residents, businesses, visitors and the environment.

Gary Casteel

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.