Ownership of historic Tahoe Community Center may change | SierraSun.com

Ownership of historic Tahoe Community Center may change

Margaret Moran
An early image of Tahoe Community Center, which was built in 1938 by the Tahoe Women’s Club after a 1937 Commons Beach fire.
Courtesy Tahoe City Public Utility District |


What: Tahoe City Public Utility District Board of Directors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 21

Where: TCPUD Administrative Office, 221 Fairway Drive

Why: Directors will discuss Tahoe Community Center ownership transfer at 9 a.m.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — North Tahoe Arts is facing some housing uncertainty.

Ownership of the building it has called home for more than 10 years is recommended to change from the Tahoe City Public Utility District to Placer County.

Currently, TCPUD subsidizes the nonprofit’s rent due to its free arts programming to the community, making it possible to operate out of the Tahoe Community Center, said Kellie Cutler, executive director of North Tahoe Arts.

“The current arrangement works well for us, and this past year we have seen some positive momentum and growth after tough economic times experienced by most businesses in Tahoe City over the last six years,” she said.

TCPUD has owned the 3,220-square-foot center on Commons Beach at 380 North Lake Blvd. since signing a deed in 1976.

Placer County, however, recently provided a legal opinion the building is owned by the county, since it owns Commons Beach.

A change in building ownership could affect North Tahoe Arts’ rent situation, Cutler said.

Should ownership change — a topic to be discussed at Friday’s TCPUD board meeting — both agencies will negotiate details such as who will be responsible for maintenance, operations and building expenses.

It is mainly a “housekeeping matter,” said Mark Rideout, deputy director of facility services of parks, museums and property management for Placer County.

“(It) cleans up relationships, makes things more clear,” he said.

In the meantime, TCPUD will continue to operate the building at an estimated cost of less than $3,000 until June 30, when a new contract begins.

“I wouldn’t say it’s contentious at all,” said Cindy Gustafson, general manager for TCPUD. “It’s just trying to define what does that mean.”

The building’s future, however, is unknown, Rideout said.

To help define that future, community input will be collected, Rideout said, and comments may be emailed to mrideout@placer.ca.gov.

The community center — built in 1938 by the Tahoe Women’s Club after a 1937 Commons Beach fire — needs major repairs, including siding, a new roof and ADA upgrades, Rideout said.

Work will cost roughly $584,000, not including soft costs such as permits and design, he said. Funding sources have not be identified.

Economics will be looked at to determine if the project is warranted, Rideout said.

North Tahoe Arts, which supports arts in the North Tahoe/Truckee region through exposure, education and participation, would like to stay in the building, Cutler said.

“Being located in the heart of Tahoe City maximizes foot traffic to the community center and to our programs,” Cutler said. “…We serve over 11,000 people annually through our nine art programs. A change in location would dramatically change our impact in the community.”

Over the years, the Tahoe Community Center has housed the women’s club, a post office, TCPUD offices, a continuation high school, a library and a visitor center, among other uses.

“It has a long history of serving the community,” Gustafson said.

The news comes on the heels of Placer County recently taking over ownership of the former North Tahoe Fire Protection District station located next to the Tahoe Community Center.

It too is in need of repairs — estimated at $820,000 — and its future is unknown, Rideout said.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.