Construction of fields hits road-block |

Construction of fields hits road-block

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

If they build it, the kids will come.

Sports-minded community members are waiting for several agencies to work out the legalese so construction can begin on four sports fields near Lake Tahoe Community College.

Also included in the $1.5 million project is construction of a warm-up field, 150-space parking lot and a restroom. Voters approved the project as part of a $6.5 million bond measure in September 2000. Measure S also paid for construction of a $4 million ice rink, which opened nearly a year ago.

Delaying field construction is a pending licensing agreement between the South Tahoe Public Utility District and El Dorado County. The county needs to use an Al Tahoe access road on district property to begin construction of the ball fields. The fields — one of which will be lighted — will be used for baseball, softball and soccer games.

“There are three different entities involved and everybody has a process to go through,” said Brad Vidro, the city of South Lake Tahoe’s director of public works. “In the end, it’s all going to work out. It’s just going to take some time.”

The utility district will be asked to approve a license agreement with the county today during its 2 p.m. board meeting.

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“We want to get this resolved. It’s dragged on a long time,” said James Jones, district president. “I don’t know what’s going to happen (today). But it’s gonna happen. It’s just a matter of working through some legal things.”

In the meantime, local teams in a variety of sports continue make due with limited field space.

“We need it. Everybody who has been out there on the ball fields knows that we need them,” said Keith Norberg, a father of Litle League and youth soccer players. “Everyone was excited when the measure passed. What it does is lessen the anxiety of folks that were are going to be getting those facilities. As long as we’re to an end, that’s a good start.”

The county had planned to begin construction of the fields last August until the access road became an issue.

Since then, the district has been in discussion with the county, California Tahoe Conservancy and city over use and maintenance of the access road.

“They were just waiting like everyone else with the understanding that you don’t do construction in the winter. But now it’s May,” said city councilman Tom Davis. “Let’s get it done sooner than later.”

The district reportedly has considered dedicating the road to the city to hasten the process.

Vidro said it would be premature for the city to accept the dedication of the road, thus making it a public road. If that occurred, the county would then have to negotiate with the city over use of the road before beginning the project.

CTC donated most of the 22-acre site for field construction. LTCC and the district have also tendered land.

In March 2002, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board OK’d the removal of 600 trees to facilitate the project.