Can you believe it? Summer has finally arrived in Tahoe. I wore flip-flops around town for the last week without going toes deep in cold slush. After three straight months of spring storms, that’s a good sign! Here’s hoping we can put down our snow shovels until October.

Catching a break from the shoveling will be a welcome respite. No doubt we have other pressing matters to attend to like barbecues, bike rides, softball games, and most importantly, the chance to help support a few proposed community sports facilities in Truckee. As you may remember the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District is in the final stages of proposing a bond measure that would fund a performing arts theatre, an indoor aquatic center, as well as the extension of multiple paved trails. And then there’s also a new cause on the local rec’ and park scene — a push to expand the much-loved Truckee Skatepark.

Expanding rec’ opportunities
We’re nearing the crux of the planning process for the TDRPD’s art, aquatic, and trail proposal. After three years of polling public interest and researching construction bids, the TDRPD is one phone survey away from placing a nearly $14 million bond measure on the November 2011 ballot. The bond would allocate half of the funds to the construction of new trails and then a quarter each to the construction of the theatre and aquatic center.

The $6 million set aside for trail development would complete the Truckee River Legacy trail from the Regional Park to Glenshire and create a new connector trail from Tahoe Donner to the Community Recreation Center. The arts and aquatic centers would get $3 million each from the bond measure which would be matched by $7 million in reserve funds leftover from the recreation center project. That $13 million in total would pay for the construction of a 300-seat theatre on the site of the old community center in downtown Truckee and an aquatic center adjacent to the new rec’ center that would include a competition pool, leisure pool, and water play area.

According to recent TDRPD statements, the $13.87 million bond would equate to a $10.50 annual tax per $100,000 assessed property value for the next 30 years. During the month of June, the recreation district will be conducting a phone survey to gauge whether voters would support the measure at this price tag. TDRPD Recreation Superintendent Dan O’Gorman said they hoped to poll about 400 people. If the survey results suggest the bond stands a good chance of passing, the district board will make the final decision to put the measure on the November ballot at a special meeting on July 5th.

Skater advocates
Despite all the work on the bond measure, the TDRPD has also found time to help foster the Truckee Skatepark Coalition, a group of community-minded skateboarders who are focused on improving the Truckee Skatepark. As one of the most popular rec’ facilities in the district, the current skatepark has shown notable shortcomings under the stress of increased traffic. The confined layout of the park and the mostly advanced terrain features has led to dangerous overcrowding. Skaters of conflicting skill levels often compete for space and beginners are tempted to venture into terrain they’re not ready for.

With those issues in mind, the coalition has proposed to expand the park to include an adjacent street course that would feature obstacles better suited for beginner and intermediate skaters. This addition would fill in the wood-chipped area between the current park boundary and the parking lot.

Truckee Skatepark Coalition communications manager Brooke Rose suggested the expansion would be a benefit to progressing skaters of all ages.

‘Skaters have told me they’re afraid to drop-in the bowl because they might kill a kid who does something unexpectedly,’ Rose said. ‘But I’ve also heard from guys in their thirties who want to get back into skating but aren’t ready to drop into the bowl yet.’

The TDRPD is supportive of the plan but has yet to find room in the budget for it.

‘We don’t have any money set aside for the skatepark yet, but that could change,’ O’Gorman said. ‘The advantage to the project is that it could be phased out such that we don’t have to come up with all the funds at once.’

The coalition isn’t wasting any time however. The group is currently soliciting bids to determine construction costs and has already begun a fundraising campaign. They are selling Truckee Skatepark stickers at local stores, including Totally Board and Porters Tahoe, and they are also hosting a series of trivia night parties at Best Pies Pizzeria in downtown Truckee. The next trivia night is June 21 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. A $7 donation is encouraged and all ages are welcome.

Info: Check out the Truckee Skatepark Coalition at its booth at Truckee Thursdays, truckeeskatepark.com