Resuscitating the heart of Tahoe City | SierraSun.com

Resuscitating the heart of Tahoe City

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunThe Tahoe City Downtown Association has been collecting information from visitors and residents to determine the pros and cons of the Tahoe City core. The results are in and survey respondents said they would like to see more variety of activities including a nightlife, ethnic restaurants and more shopping.

The Tahoe City Downtown Association spent two months last fall surveying and documenting resident and visitor opinions on the attributes and drawbacks of Tahoe City, and the results are in.

The consumer surveys, conducted mostly at the Tahoe City Farmer’s Market, were conducted to identify types of visitors and their lodging, dining and shopping habits, and the preferences of area locals.

“We’re honing in on more specific community needs, demands and wishes,” said Linda Williams, special projects manager for the downtown association.

Residents responded with 149 completed surveys, Williams said.

Comprehensive data collection has been conducted around the region but never specifically in Tahoe City. The intercept surveys were the first step in “taking the temperature” of Tahoe City commerce, said Kelly Atchley, executive director of the business organization.

A majority of the residents said shopping opportunities were at or below average, mostly because of a lack of variety or overly expensive products. Many locals reported shopping in Reno.

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Dining, however, fared more positively ” less than 15 percent of residents said eating out in Tahoe City was below average. Williams said people expressed a desire for ethnic food and more family-friendly options.

Nightlife in Tahoe City is sub-par, according to most resident surveys. Responses ranged from “the only options are mostly bars” to “all the bars have closed.” Almost half of the respondents said they would like to see a theater in town.

The end of the survey asked residents to name three areas of improvement for Tahoe City ” entertainment and culture, commercial rents and housing costs were named as key issues.

There was considerable consensus among residents for more varied and affordable shopping, reasonably priced dining options and the return of nightlife, Williams said in her written report. Visitors shared many of the same interests as locals.

“Remember, people come for the lake,” said an anonymous survey. “It is about the lake. Anything [we] can do to make it easier to go to the water and stay there is key.”

While the informal surveys are a sampling of community input to lay a foundation for future planning, the data will also be used as an ingredient for a more formal survey, Williams said.

“It’s a tool for us, for Placer County,” Williams said.

The preliminary report on the intercept surveys will be presented to the business association’s board of directors at 8 a.m. on Feb. 22 at the Tahoe City Public Utility District.

Survey data will also be passed along to Placer County.

In addition, Williams has been interviewing local business proprietors to compile information representing business owners. That survey will be complete next month, she said.

“We really appreciate the community’s input on this. People took the time,”