Recreation measure fails
November 9, 2005
TAHOE CITY – Measure T, a multiagency bond measure to fund a recreation center needed a two-thirds yes vote to pass, but garnered less than a third from North and West Shore voters Tuesday.
“We’re disappointed that the community didn’t have the collective confidence to put together this community asset,” said John Shuff, a member of the Recreation Center Communities Committee (RC3), the group that pushed the measure. Measure T encompassed both El Dorado County and Placer County voters at West Shore area. “What I learned from the experience is that people aren’t confident about anything right now.”
Of the 2,672 Tahoe residents who voted, only 850 supported Measure T, leaving 68 percent against the measure.
The RC3 committee, and its chair Sue Rae Irelan, had been working for five years to get the recreation center measure on the ballot. The plan was to build the recreation center on the Firestone property on Dollar Hill in two phases, complete with a swimming pool, gym facilities and bike trail. Proponents said the center would have served as a safe place for children to learn how to swim and as a community gathering place. But some opponents said a recreation center was not needed and there were not enough full-time residents to support such a project.
The bond measure, as stated on the ballot, was for $22 million, but opponents said there were hidden costs and the tax could have been upwards of $60 million.
“The thing that sticks out to me is not being up front with the cost of this thing,” said Ric Winter, a Tahoe City Public Utilities District board member and former member of the Joint Powers Authority that placed the measure on the ballot. “It caused them more problems than needed to. That’s why I quit the JPA. This is a repercussion from that. The voters have spoken.”
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The JPA was formed to determine whether the issue should be put on the ballot for voters to decide and Treabess noted that the JPA accomplished what it was set out to do. He also noted that there is “a mechanism in place to look at other parks and recreation opportunities,” but that it is up to the TCPUD and the North Tahoe Public Utility District – the two utility districts that make up the JPA – to determine whether to continue to meet or not.
“A lot of people worked really hard to make it a reality,” Treabess said. “The PUDs would be thankful that people participated to the extent that they did.”
Shuff said that he hopes the same people who worked hard to build the rec center would continue to keep working on future projects.
“I met some remarkable people who are energetic,” Shuff said. “We have to work to create community.”