Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 8 – New development | SierraSun.com

Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 8 – New development

the staff of the Sierra Sun

Sun File PhotoA crane operator dropped the new sign on Highway 267 earlier this year to promote the addition of the Ritz-Carlton, Lake-Tahoe at Northstar, which opened in December.

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. – We would prefer to look at 2009 with one eye closed. For a brief time, the region saw the economy dip down to levels not seen since the late 80s, and optimism dip even further. During that volatility, the stress on us as a region was evident. We fought and filed lawsuits, we packed our bags and left, and much of our community was pointing fingers about the future of the school district.

Frankly, it wasn’t much fun, which is why we’d prefer just to move on and forget most of it. Yet, that would be too easy. Between the bad news headlines and tragedies did lay a bit of silver lining. Those in the region who survived 2009 – however you define that – will walk into 2010 with a resolve and a confidence unparalleled in most of our lifetimes.

The evidence is clear. Development on the horizon is beginning to employ more workers. Early snowfall propelled the region to the top of the resort world for the 2009 Christmas holiday week, and the school district is beginning to refocus itself away from the politics and back to the classroom. But we don’t have to remind our readers how far we still have to go, and the volume of challenges we have to overcome to protect our region and our quality of life.

So, to 2009 and all its bittersweet memories, we bid you adieu and thank you for the whipping. And when you finally go, please don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and definitely don’t look back.

We all know about the $300 million Ritz-Carlton in Northstar-at-Tahoe. Somehow, that development became a reality during the economic slump, employing 1,000 construction workers and injecting the region with some pretty high-scale optimism.

More is on the way. Biltmore executives in Crystal Bay are busy pushing its renovation to a more luxury hotel – called Boulder Bay – through the public process and fighting impassioned environmental- and community-group challenges. Homewood is waiting for a rebound to finish its public expansion process in 2010. And the huge Railyard project to be built adjacent to downtown Truckee got its approval, but then got sued. If the timeline holds, that case should be resolved in 2010 as well.

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It wasn’t all private development – the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District opened their new Community Recreation Center this year too, adding much needed recreational amenities to Truckee.