Opinion: Collaboration key to grow Lake Tahoe’s economy | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Collaboration key to grow Lake Tahoe’s economy

Sandy Evans Hall

The Tahoe Prosperity Center mission is uniting Tahoe's communities to strengthen regional prosperity.

Prosperity is defined as "the condition of being successful or thriving, especially economic well-being." The Tahoe Prosperity Center is the basin-wide organization focused on that goal for all who live and work in Lake Tahoe.

In 2010, the Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan was completed by the City of South Lake Tahoe, Douglas, El Dorado, Placer and Washoe Counties, Carson City, local businesses and community leaders.

It was an unprecedented collaborative effort and was the first snapshot of the region's economy. It also resulted in numerous initiatives being identified that could help grow our $5 billion economy.

Five years later, much in the plan is currently being implemented. Sierra Nevada College and Lake Tahoe Community College are improving workforce training and creating entrepreneurship programs.

Barton Memorial Hospital and Tahoe Forest Hospital have expanded telemedicine efforts. The local government jurisdictions support the initiatives as part of their strategic plans.

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The Tahoe Prosperity Center was created out of the plan and is the catalyst for economic vitality. Alone, we cannot implement the almost 100 ideas in the Prosperity Plan, but by bringing the communities together and having a collective impact, we can accelerate positive change.

We know that residents want more amenities like sidewalks with lights, trails connecting our neighborhoods to our town centers and arts and culture. Better job opportunities, higher wages and less seasonality are also critical to overall prosperity.

We also know that Lake Tahoe will always be a spectacular place to visit. But we haven't had as much focus on ensuring Tahoe is a great place to live.

Let's make our town centers vibrant with thriving local businesses and a sense of place with community gathering areas. Let's add art in public spaces that reflect our natural beauty. Let's ensure our communities are ready for the jobs just around the corner and that workers can afford to live here.

And let's finally get rid of the blight, the dilapidated and undesirable buildings and bring in environmentally friendly redevelopment instead. Or in some cases, take out the blight and create parks and open spaces.

We can do this together. There has been no unified voice for Tahoe's communities, environment and economy — until now.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center is the only organization working across city, county and state boundaries, in this collaborative space, bringing leaders together to accelerate positive change and turn Tahoe around.

We look forward to working with residents, community leaders and our governments to make a difference.

Sandy Evans Hall is chair of the Tahoe Prosperity Center Board of Directors. She's also executive director of North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association.