Park district plans to polish Truckee’s West End Beach |

Park district plans to polish Truckee’s West End Beach

Jenny Goldsmith/Sierra SunLandscape architect Laura Mello describes the potential changes to be made by the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District to Donner Lake's West End Beach. Preliminary plans include a remodeled pavilion, an amphitheater and improved landscaping. The beautification portion of the project will begin this summer.

Donner Lake’s West End Beach is headed for a makeover that may bring more music, a new pavilion and a new look to the popular summer spot.

The proposed improvements are being weighed by the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District board of directors in hopes of reviving the scenic space.

“There’s a huge amount of potential there that hasn’t been realized,” said board member Marshall Lewis. “We’ve looked at the site for years and have always thought ‘we could make this into something.'”

Although plans are still in their early stages, Lewis said ideas include enhancing the landscape, relocating the pavilion, improving the parking area and building a small amphitheater.

“This is a special place and we want to do the justice that it deserves,” Lewis said.

The district has allocated general funds for the beautification portion of the project, which will begin this summer. But funding for the amphitheater, pavilion and parking lot have yet to be determined, Lewis said.

General Manager Steve Randall said the district intends to sell the property below the Veterans Hall in Truckee to finance the remaining improvements, but the land is not yet on the market and the cost is unknown at this time.

The total estimated cost of the proposed West End Beach project ” which could also include a changing room for wedding parties, a cooking station and an interpretive trail highlighting the Chinese history in Truckee ” is $300,000, said project architect Laura Mello, the principle landscape architect for Truckee-based LJM Design Group.

The stage portion of the proposed amphitheater would be under 2,000 square feet, and would be covered by a temporary cloth shade. The seating arrangement would cover a 2,000-square-foot casual lawn area, Mello said.

Donner Lake resident and owner of Donner Lake Realty Charlie White said from what he knows of the project, his concerns are that an amphitheater could obstruct views of the lake and parking availability is already limited.

“They need additional parking there, but I don’t know where they’d put it,” White said.

Mello said the parking lot may be resurfaced and reshaped to improve beach access and even water quality as patrons currently park on dirt areas causing erosion, but an extension to the lot is not in the cards.

However, the proposed amphitheater and remodeled pavilion would improve lake views rather than cause further obstruction, Mello said.

“With the way the pavilion is designed right now, the poles get in the way of the lake view,” Mello said. “The idea is to relocate some things so your first impression is the lake.”

Additionally, the new pavilion and amphitheater are designed to be less obstructive because the suspended cloth covering is open on all sides, and will come down in the winter, she said.

Roger and Lucille Gannam ” owners of Donner Pines Market ” agreed that parking could be an issue, but said overall, a small-scale music venue would be beneficial to the tourists and locals.

“I would say just keep it intimate, because that’s why we’re here at Donner Lake ” to keep away from the crowds,” Lucille Gannam said.

The Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District board of directors will discuss the project and potential improvements to West End Beach at Thursday’s meeting, Lewis said.

“It’s going to be done, we just don’t know exactly when; it’s a matter of planning and patience,” Lewis said. “When the money suddenly appears ” which it will ” we will start building.”

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