Kings Beach craft fairs traffic discussed
KINGS BEACH – During its Sept. 7 meeting to discuss the Kings Beach craft fairs, the North Tahoe Business Association gave residents, business owners and artists an open forum to air concerns surrounding the weekend events.
“I see both sides of the fence sitting here and I want to hear from both sides,” Don Sparks, president of the business association, addressed those gathered at the North Tahoe Community Conference Center.
While pure opposition to the events was absent from the meeting, many in attendance wanted to discuss possible solutions to problems associated with the fairs.
“We were ready for a confrontation and people came with solutions,” said Norma Schwartz, association director. “Everyone had suggestions, not demands.”
Some business owners mentioned competition as a problem, but the crowded parking situation was identified as the primary thorn in everyone’s side.
“You know, the parking – even though it’s a problem – it means we’re successful,” said Joni Forreh, owner of Joni’s Downtown Grill. “If the fair wasn’t here people would roll right through to Truckee.”
Possible solutions to the community’s parking woes, such as designating an off-site area for craft fair vendors to park or roping off Brook Street for either parking or the fair itself, were discussed during the meeting. Allowing vendors the use of the public utility district’s parking lot on National Avenue was also discussed.
“I feel that the craft fairs seem to be accepted, but there are things – like the parking,” said Schwartz. “Parking is always going to be a problem. We’re trying to look at something to cure that.”
Marty Cohen, owner of The Shore House in Tahoe Vista, explained why he feels cramped parking is a bearable trade-off for a kinder, gentler Kings Beach. Illustrating how the community had improved, Cohen described the days of yore when the former haven for “motorcycles, drugs and what have you” was known as Kinky Beach.
“People rolled up their windows when they drove through town,” Cohen said. “It was not a place you’d take your family.”
Schwartz said that she believes events such as the craft fairs and general community improvements have led to Kings Beach revitalization. The general consensus of the meeting was that members of the community would be better off coping with the resulting problems than attack the fairs themselves.
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