Squaw Valley may get visitor center | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley may get visitor center

Visitors to Squaw Valley may soon be greeted with a new information center.

The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association is seeking a site at the entrance to Squaw Valley Road for a welcome center for tourists entering the Tahoe Basin on Highway 89.

In an effort to let visitors know what to see and what to do across the North Shore, the resort association’s master plan calls for construction of two more welcome centers, said Placer County’s Tahoe manager Jennifer Merchant.

The plan identifies three locations across North Lake Tahoe, including Kings Beach and Squaw Valley, where people entering the region can access area information.

Tahoe City already has a welcome center housed with the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce next to the fire station on North Lake Boulevard.

“The facilities are necessary to help visitors learn how to enjoy and respect the treasures of North Lake Tahoe,” said Ron Treabess, the resort association’s director of community partnerships and planning.

The project is still in its infancy. Ward Young Architecture and Planning has developed a schematic design that they presented at a special meeting Thursday and will work on a preliminary design of the building following Placer County’s approval of the cost.

The small bus shelter currently located near 7-Eleven will likely be replaced with a 300 square-foot welcome center, an expanded bus stop and restrooms available at any hour of the day.

Residents said they agree with the overall look, structure and purpose of the initial design but want to ensure that the center does not disturb traffic and that bicycle and pedestrian crossing is considered.

There is also still discussion of combining the visitor center with an Olympic and Western ski history museum, Merchant said.

The visitor center will offer year-round services and will be staffed and maintained by the resort association, Treabess said.

Treabess estimates costs including both planning and construction at around $300,000.

The project could be funded through transient occupancy taxes, which are collected from lodging across the region, said Treabess.

If the project moves along smoothly workers could break ground by the time the snow melts in 2008, he said.

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