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Rainbow Lodge likely to reopen by July

Rainbow Lodge remains closed more than three months after a problem with its sewage treatment system forced the lodge to temporarily shut down, putting a damper on plans to market the property.

Repairs to the septic system are tentatively scheduled to begin June 1, in time to welcome back guests to the historic lodge by July, said Mike Livak, Royal Gorge project manager.



And despite the “Closed” sign on its front door, the lodge is still generating interest from out-of-town investors, said Karl Saimre with Truckee River Associates.

“The lodge still garners a lot of attention,” Saimre said.



However, the real estate firm did put some of the promotional marketing for Rainbow Lodge on hold due to the closure, Saimre said.

The lodge is currently for sale, listed on the market in November for $7 million. Saimre said the lodge has been somewhat difficult to show prospective buyers since “someone wants to see a fully operating business.”

Since the lodge’s sudden closure, lodge personnel have referred guests to the Ice Lakes Lodge instead.

Livak said Royal Gorge has received proposals to complete the repairs from several contractors and will make a decision soon. The start of construction also depends on how fast the snowpack melts, as drier conditions will be necessary to begin work, Livak said.

“We don’t want to make a mess to clean up a mess,” Livak said.

Phase one of the repair work includes the replacement of the concrete septic tank ” which was taking on groundwater ” and installation of a new septic pump and an electric switchboard to operate the system. Rainbow Lodge had one large septic tank, which exceeded its capacity for the size of the facility, and will be replaced with three large tanks, said Jill Pahl, director of Placer County Environmental Health.

In the second phase of repairs, environmental health staff will investigate the condition of the soil near the leaching fields ” which filter wastewater through sewage pipes in the soil ” to identify whether any additional leach field lines would need to be added, Pahl said.

The leaching fields are well over 100 feet away from the Yuba River, she explained, with the lodge located nearby.

The Placer department deals with about a dozen sewage-related problems a year, Pahl said.

A problem with the lodge’s septic system was first detected in early February when staff discovered a valve that alternates between two septic fields needed to be repaired. The initial problem was fixed; however, on Feb. 11 one of the leaching fields reached capacity. As a result, lodge managers shut down the bar and restaurant immediately.

A historic 1920s inn and restaurant, Rainbow Lodge was purchased more than a year ago by Bay Area developers Todd Foster and Kirk Syme as part of the sale of Royal Gorge Ski Resort.


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