TTD effort to purchase old Incline school for mobility hub has residents concerned

Tahoe Transportation District currently uses the old el
Kayla Anderson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Some Incline Village residents are upset at the potential for Tahoe Transportation District to purchase the old elementary school.

The school has sat empty and has been for sale since about 2003. Many residents would like to see that site be used for a community center and a possible spot for a dog park.

However, with the help of the Nevada Department of Transportation, TTD has reached out to Washoe County School District, which owns the site, about purchasing it and using it as a mobility hub.

“We’ve got a huge demand in Tahoe, demand is not diminishing and everyone in cars is not sustainable,” said TTD Executive Director Carl Hasty.

He hopes that the mobility hub could provide a place for people to park and get access to the public lands in Incline, as well as an anchor point for transportation between Incline Village and Spooner Summit.

“We’re trying to make Tahoe accessible while still protecting it,” said Hasty. “It was built to be accessible by car but we need to move past that.”

Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler admits Incline Village is in, “dire need of parking.”

She personally likes the idea of the school site being used as a mobility hub.

However, the site could possibly be used as a construction staging site, which she, along with many residents are opposed to.

“The mention of the staging idea in the information from TTD is the idea of a temporary use of the old school site to help facilitate completion of the pending overlay project,” Hasty said in an email to some community leaders, “That location could be used with or without acquisition by TTD. The staging suggestion in the information piece was not for the construction of the next eight miles of trail from Sand Harbor to Spooner Summit.”

Not only could it be an eyesore, but Berkbigler is also concerned about the environmental impacts.

“I would like the members of the community to have a say but what I will not stand for is for the site to be used as a staging site,” Berkbigler said. Adding that she would do everything in her power to prevent that from happening.

Candidate for Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees Frank Wright doesn’t trust that TTD has the community’s interests in mind and would like to see the school district work with the community to allow them to purchase the property.

“The school district should be more willing to work with IVGID, especially with all the land we allow the high school to use,” Wright said.

He said if the district considers going through with the sale, IVGID should reassess some of the MOUs IVGID has with the school district.

Berkbigler said if the community wanted to work together to fundraise for the purchase of the property, she would help them navigate county and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency regulations.

“Some people want it to be a town center, and I don’t blame them, it would be a perfect site for that,” Berkbigler said.

Hasty said if the school district does decide to sell them the property, TTD would work with the community to try and fit their needs.

However, he has not heard back from the district and thinks with COVID-19 crisis, it’s probably not on the front burner for the district right now.

The Tribune reached out to the school district but their communications office is currently closed.

One thing that Wright is sure of is that this is going to be a heated issue for the community.

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