The deliberation over whether or not to construct a public bike park in South Lake Tahoe has been delayed over insurance liability and Lake Tahoe Workers Compensation concerns. While the topic has been discussed off-and-on since it was introduced in 2011, the details were sorted out for months. As of earlier this month, the project was approved.
The project is estimated to cost $511,000 and was first proposed by the Bijou Bike Park Association (BBPA). The vote to start building the project recently passed unanimously 4-0 by city Councilmembers. Mayor Hal Cole stated “I’ve been in government awhile, and I’d be willing to bet there will be a bike park in this town. My job as steward of the public funds is to make sure it’s done safely for public safety and the welfare of the city’s security. It’s just now a matter of making sure it’s done right.”
As such, the entity that would assume liability was debated: The city or the BBPA? According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the city has been deemed responsible for the issues regarding insurance, workers’ compensation, and liability for the project.
Jim Marino, Assistant Director of the Public Works Department said “So, the goal is to create this sort of park through city funds, city workforce, city equipment-for the most part.” The funds will predominantly be used for materials and labor. However, volunteer efforts will be utilized in order to reduce costs.
A group of BMX and mountain bikers first appealed the idea for the park in 2011. According to The Tahoe Daily Tribune, in March of 2013, the South Lake Tahoe City Council approved the partnership with the volunteer group and this month the council contributed $100,000 for the project, making the completion feasible.
Marino expounded “I have to be straight forward, if the bicycle folks came to us and said, ‘we need a half-million dollars to build a bike park,’ I don’t think we could have ever done it. We have way too many priorities going on in town. This is really the only way we could come up with to figure out how we can partner…We know it can be done.”
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