Tahoe Prosperity Center column: Spring is perfect time to find future opportunities
Path to Prosperity
There is a lot to love about spring. In Tahoe it can still mean plenty of snow. It brings spring powder days, slush bump days, snowy Easter egg hunts and maybe a late season snowman. This spring, it also includes heavier snowmelt, rising rivers and flooding — so take care out there. And it can be a time to open the windows and spring clean! I recommend Mrs. Meyers Honeysuckle scented cleaners.
Now, if only we could spring-clean our community — spruce it up quickly with some much needed makeovers. You know the parts of town I’m talking about: the blighted, rundown and aging buildings, trailer parks, apartments and businesses that just aren’t keeping up with the times. Why aren’t they being renovated like some other areas?
Unfortunately, Tahoe’s governmental jurisdictions and regional agencies just don’t move quickly. Redevelopment takes time and we won’t see positive changes to some of these blighted areas of our towns for awhile. But, there is a bit of progress now, which will have a long-lasting impact on our region.
In South Lake Tahoe at the Y intersection, the Crossings is finishing up its “makeover” and is a much nicer looking set of shops than the tired outlets were for many years. There is a restaurant, brewery, a pilates/yoga studio, a wellness center and retail shops. This is a much-needed improvement for this part of town. Now just imagine if there was a second story with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for rent turning it into a mixed-use center?
We applaud the city of South Lake Tahoe for trying to make that happen, but they couldn’t come to an agreement with the developer. This is an unfortunate missed opportunity given that transit is just across the street and we all know housing like this is needed. However, when this construction is finished, please visit these shops and restaurants and enjoy the nicer amenities in this section of town — hopefully by shopping and eating here, we can show the developer that future investment in our community is worthwhile and maybe his next project will be mixed-use retail and residential.
In Tahoe City, the new Tahoe City Lodge project will be breaking ground soon. This gateway project will have multiple benefits to the North Shore region. The developers see this project as a catalyst for community revitalization and with the investments that Placer County had already made in sidewalks and lighting in this part of town, Tahoe City will soon be transformed.
It is also close to transit allowing visitors to leave their car and walk to shops, restaurants and the lake—– reducing vehicle trips and traffic congestion.
And it is located in the heart of Tahoe City at the Y intersection, which will also have a new roundabout to improve the flow of traffic. While construction season may be tough, once these improvements are complete, we can all enjoy sitting out on the new restaurant patio, overlooking the lake and toast to a huge improvement in our region.
The Tahoe Prosperity Center is working hard to promote mixed-use projects because the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Economic investment in our region, new year-round job opportunities and the additional housing stock are the primary ones.
At this time of year, when many of us get into spring cleaning mode, it is a good time to look around for opportunities for more of these projects. And because these projects take time to come to fruition, now is the time to find those future opportunities so that in the spring seasons ahead, our communities can truly reflect the natural beauty of the lake and mountains.
Heidi Hill Drum is the CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center, a Tahoe Basin-wide organization dedicated to uniting Tahoe’s communities to strengthen regional prosperity. She has expertise in collaborative governance and is a 21-year resident. Heidi and her husband John are happily raising their two boys in Lake Tahoe.
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California’s broader economy is a bit sluggish, but certain sectors have been booming thanks to record low interest rates and many billions of stimulus dollars from Uncle Sam.