Tahoe plan identifies rec goals
More than a year in the works, a blueprint for future recreational needs was presented to the North Tahoe Public Utility Districts board of directors Tuesday, calling for new playgrounds, bike paths and community events. The draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which will serve as a map for the districts Parks and Recreation department over the next decade, addressed community desires and needs, and recommended strategies for facilities and funding to meet those needs.[The Master Plan] becomes a living document, said Cordy Hill of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey, a community planning agency hired by the district to develop the plan. Its not going to be put on a shelf.Parks and Recreation Commissioner John Shuff said the document is not a final plan set in stone, but will rather help the district steer in the right direction. I see this document not as anything final, but as a starting point, Shuff said at Tuesdays meeting. Through a series of workshops, interviews and surveys within the districts boundaries, public comment was incorporated into the plan, helping to align the districts vision with the communitys vision, said North Tahoe Public Utility District Executive Assistant Pam LeFrancois. After assessing the communitys desires, the consultants provided an inventory of the districts existing facilities, programs and funding sources, analyzing their existing use and future potential. Facilities such as the Boys and Girls Club and the North Tahoe Regional Park are untapped resources and are significantly underutilized, the Master Plan notes. With the Boys and Girls Club, the plan suggested other community groups use the facility while children are in school. The plan also recommended developing trails to link the district with surrounding areas, and upgrading the playground equipment at the North Tahoe Regional Park to meet safety standards and accessibility requirements. But, as with all development ventures, funds are required, and the districts Parks and Recreation department operates on a tight budget. Parks and Recreation Manager Kathy Long said the district generates income through government contracts that negotiate funds in return for property maintenance, Measure C that funds the Boys and Girls Club and recreational areas, facility rentals for events and boat-launching, parking and concession fees. Since the budget is stretched to meet existing needs, the parks and recreation commission usually pays for new projects through grants or private funding, Long said. The plan outlines several funding solutions, including grant opportunities, partnering with neighboring organizations, lobbying government agencies for more funding and hiring a program coordinator who would attract revenue-generating events. The plan itself will also help generate grants and additional funding, Long said. I think [the funding suggestions] are all good things, Long said. I think theres not one thats going to be putting us over the top, so to speak.At Tuesdays meeting, the board expressed concern over funding sources, and asked the parks and recreation commission to evaluate the plan and prioritize the most reasonable and achievable projects.Commissioner Shuff said the panel will look at public input, funding and accessibility issues to prioritize the projects. Theres so many targets to shoot at, its really hard to determine which one to aim at first, Shuff said. The draft Master Plan will continue to be refined and revised. A final plan may be approved as soon as Julys board meeting, Long said. Im really excited that we got such a good document out of this process, Long said. Its really necessary for the district to have a basis on what we want in the future.
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