Pay to play? Voters may get to vote on recreation plans
The fate of three recreation projects slated for Tahoe’s South Shore may fall on the shoulders of voters this spring, according to El Dorado County’s recreation facilitator Dennis Crabb.
The proposed projects, approved in El Dorado County’s Recreation Master Plan, include construction and maintenance of 25 miles of bicycle trail that would connect Meyers to Stateline, construction of four playing fields near the Lake Tahoe Community College and construction of an ice skating facility on Rufus Allen Boulevard.
Crabb said the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce hired a polling service to ask 400 registered voters in the area about recreation and their willingness to pay for additional recreational facilities.
Priorities determined in the poll placed bike trails high on the list, followed by an ice skating rink and playing fields.
“The poll indicated that people would be willing to pay $12 per year and about 50 percent more (about $18) to get the projects completed within the next few years,” he said.
A 30-member group comprised of various local recreation providers and land management agencies, called the South Tahoe Alliance for Recreation, or STAR, has vowed to see through the implementation of the recreation plan.
Members of the group are working on a bond measure initiative to fund the projects, which are estimated at about $4 million for construction of the ice rink and the playing fields. Crabb said funding to build the bike trail is likely to come from other sources, including state and federal grants. Additionally, about $275,000 is needed for maintenance.
The bond measure, which would increase property taxes in South Lake Tahoe and surrounding county neighborhoods by $12 per $100,000 of assessed property value per year, would fund maintenance fees and a portion of the capital expenditures.
John Upton, a member of STAR, said most of the funding for the construction of the projects would come largely from taxing businesses.
“We’ve gotten a large and favorable response from the business community on this,” he said.
Upton led the campaign in May to pass $17 million Bond Measure C in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to pay for upgrades in the schools’ facilities.
He said, if a reasonable proposal for a bond measure can be drawn up, campaigning for the recreation bond measure will begin early next year.
“Assuming that we come up with acceptable numbers, we’re looking at having a June election,” Upton said. “The goal here is to start construction of the ice rink next summer.”
Despite the efforts to add four new fields near the Lake Tahoe Community College, Upton said the proposal to build fields at the old Meyers Landfill is still on the slate.
“Even if this (bond measure) goes through, it will not ease the demand for fields,” he said. “A lot of families commute to Incline Village or Minden to use fields – that’s a pretty bad situation. You’re putting a lot of families on the road to play soccer and it’s a little bit dangerous.”
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