Workshop highlights Regan Beach |

Workshop highlights Regan Beach

Jack Barnwell
Ben Fish, Design House's operations manager, points to some features of Regan Beach during a community outreach meeting to discuss the park's future needs on Tuesday at the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Regan Beach, South Lake Tahoe’s oldest city park and recreation facility, has a lot of advantages, including being a neighborhood beach that’s dog-friendly.

That’s how Daniel Vega saw it as he tossed a flying disc for Rizzo, his black lab-pointer mix dog, last Wednesday at Regan Beach water dog park area.

“It’s really enjoyable,” Vega said. “It’s been a good thing for the dogs because the water’s so low this year.”

While he hasn’t used much of other facilities, such as the concession stand or the volleyball court, Vega said those provided great amenities for the area.

But it could use some improvements.

“They could keep it cleaned up more and the dog zone could be expanded,” Vega said.

Improving Regan Beach is something the city has in mind and the focus of a Tuesday evening workshop at the Tuesday night at the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center.

Beach quality, environmental concerns and dog matters generated robust discussion about Regan Beach among 35 residents and civic leaders.

The community workshop, coordinated by Design Workshop, follows an August 2014 meeting about the improvements for the city’s oldest park facility.

“This is a very important piece of the puzzle for recreation opportunities in the city,” said Steve Noll, a Design Workshop member and parks commissioner.

The 6.2-acre beach park’s restoration has been a goal for city parks and recreation staff for a number of years, but the initial draft have only emerged as part of a recreation master plan.

Regan Beach, according to residents and staff present at the Tuesday workshop, has unique qualities. It’s connected to the Al Tahoe neighborhood, tranquil and a great place to take dogs and families.

But it has its problems, according to Noll.

He noted the restrooms and concession stand/observation deck are beyond their original lifespan and would make more sense to replace them than to continue patching them up.

“You can see obvious problems in the retaining wall so there’s an opportunity there to have it reinforced or have different ways to stabilized the shoreline,” Noll said.

Additionally the park doesn’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, having only one ramp for wheelchair access.

Renovation or restoration costs haven’t been established yet because the scope of work hasn’t been established.

“We will have a better idea of costs down the road,” Noll said. “Some of the solutions might be on the table, but there might not be money available.”

Lauren Thomaselli, the city’s recreation manager, said the project design phase has been funded.

Breakout session groups discussed ideas of how to generate revenue from Regan Beach to help maintain it, environmental concerns, what made the area unique and how to address the matter of dogs, which has been a controversial issue.

Parks commissioner Bonnie Turnbull, a facilitator for one group, said Regan Beach doesn’t generate enough revenue to balance maintenance needs.

Some ideas for revenue included the city refining its wedding venue fee. The city currently charges a $250 minimum for two hours to use the Regan Beach grass area as a venue. Paid parking came up, as well as increased special use permit fees to offset the impact to the neighborhood.

Environmental concerns included the current quality of the beach, dog feces that haven’t been picked up by dog owners and the retaining wall’s structural integrity.

Ideas for dog access to the park ranged from banning all dogs from the beach, to enacting a leash law and better enforcement of the current regulations on the beach.

The city could also offer a fenced-off dog area similar to the one at Bijou Park.

Noll said the input from the meeting would be reviewed, incorporated into another draft plan and brought to another public outreach workshop in July. More refinements will follow before a third outreach meeting in August and after that take it to city council.

“Obviously not everyone will agree with what might eventually be done, but hopefully we can accommodate most of the ideas,” Noll said.

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