IVGID seeks $260K for Lake Tahoe ski resort outreach | SierraSun.com

IVGID seeks $260K for Lake Tahoe ski resort outreach

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The district could spend a quarter-million dollars on a public outreach plan to gather feedback and analyze proposed changes to Diamond Peak Ski Resort.

Incline Village General Improvement District General Manager Steve Pinkerton next week will ask the board to OK a contact not to exceed $263,647 to "MIG," a Berkeley, Calif.-based planning, design and communications firm.

The idea is for MIG to work with the community to figure out what it wants to see at Diamond Peak — particularly with residents and users "who've never been to a public meeting, and don't ever go to public meetings," Pinkerton said Wednesday.

"We want to see what we can do in the future for our venues, and try to change the culture of the community," Pinkerton said. "We don't think … with our venues we should just be focused on maximizing profits and minimizing costs, because that is not what most of our pass-holders want. Yes, they want to run these things as cost-effective as possible, but they're willing to pay a fee to get the level of service they like."

Should the contract be approved, a loose deadline to move ahead with the resort's master plan is May 1, 2015. MIG would have two main tasks in advance of that date:

• Working with the Diamond Peak Master Plan Steering Committee to analyze Phase 1 of the proposed master plan, including design, noise, and aesthetic and environmental impacts, along with a detailed financial review.

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• Conducting a series of community-wide workshops to educate residents about current conditions and recreation opportunities, while getting input on what they value and the qualities and characteristics of the community they would like to see maintained and enhanced.

Pinkerton also plans to present proposed Steering Committee members at the Wednesday, Nov. 19, regular board meeting, which beings at 6 p.m. at The Chateau. The MIG/Diamond Peak item is time certain for 7 p.m.

Pinkerton has said the committee will include IVGID staff and residents "who represent the entire range of opinions on Diamond Peak."

On Sept. 10, the board voted 5-0 to allow Pinkerton to move forward with gathering information to develop a plan that provides a more detailed review of Phase 1 and includes additional community review.

Many of the master plan's potential additions — such as canopy tours, an aerial challenge course and an alpine coaster — are designed to bring year-round revenue to a resort that operates generally for only four months in the winter.

While some have supported growth at Diamond Peak, others are skeptical of the potential for increased traffic and noise, as well as a perceived likelihood residents would pay for amenities that mostly only tourists would enjoy.

The master plan proposes $18.2 million (some of which would be borrowed initially) in capital upgrades, spent across four phases across many years, all while not raising resident recreation fees.

The item was expected to be reviewed at this Wednesday's board meeting, but Pinkerton chose to cancel it because he felt he needed more time to gather feedback.

According to the district, the MIG contract does not have to go out to bid, per Nevada law.

In all, $250,000 is in Diamond Peak's 2014-15 capital budget to fund the contract, Pinkerton said; anything in excess would be taken from operating reserves.