Latinos help plan future of Kings Beach | SierraSun.com

Latinos help plan future of Kings Beach

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun
Jason Kelley/Sierra SunDiana Cristales-David (left), Graciela Sarviento and Arely Rios participate in a place-based planning meeting Tuesday night for the Latino community in Kings Beach as part of Pathway 2007. Each community around the lake is providing input to come up with a 20-year regional plan for Lake Tahoe.
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North Tahoe’s Latino community may have different needs than other segments of the population, which is why Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency sought their input Tuesday night as part of the place-based planning community workshops.

“The Latino community is a huge segment of our community,” said Jennifer Merchant, Tahoe manager for Placer County’s executive office. “They may have different needs and we want to accommodate them in a comfortable space and in a language they are comfortable with.”

The nearly 30 community members who participated in the Kings Beach workshop ranged in age and included families who are members of Creciendos Unidos (Growing Together), a group of parents and teens committed to making changes in the Kings Beach community.

They said they would like Kings Beach to have more lighting, to be more pedestrian-friendly, incorporate more bike lanes, a community center that can be accessed at night, affordable housing and better transportation. Some participants said they would like to see the blight gone from Kings Beach and the teens indicated they would like more things to do.

“I thought it was very good,” Kings Beach resident Carolina Nunez said through an interpreter at the meeting. “We got a lot of ideas, and we were able to give a lot of ideas. It is good because we have hope that our town can change. All of the ideas will better our community.”

Merchant said she was amazed at the similarities between what the Latino community signified as important and what other community members said they wanted during a workshop last month, but said more specifics came out at Tuesday’s meeting.

“They concentrated on today because the needs are so immediate,” Merchant said. “People are concerned about safety and where they are going. Lights are important in a working community. There was a focus on affordable housing and transportation.”

Several of the attendees said they hope to attend the larger placed-based workshop in July.