The latest count of El Dorado County ballots indicate that Measure K for Kids has failed by a very slim margin, just 0.74%.
That it came so close speaks volumes to the residents of our District and their priority of children and education; even at the expense of their own pocket. But now the Club has to decide how to work with the facilities as they are, or use our initiative to make what improvements we can.
We use three school sites on an almost daily basis. They include the Magnet and Bijou sites, and although we have our amazing Angel of Tahoe building, we still use the multi-purpose room and kitchen at Al Tahoe for activities and meals. We also use the playgrounds and fields at all three sites. The running joke for the Angel of Tahoe staff is that the path between our building and the Al Tahoe MPR is a time machine, taking us back 50 years, as that is exactly what it feels like. Parents who went to Al Tahoe tell us that it looks exactly the same as when they went to school there, and unfortunately the contrast with the Angel of Tahoe building makes it seem even older and more outdated.
The Club has two reasonable options moving forward. Petition LTUSD to spend what little facility funding they get from the State on the facilities we use and/or look to fund some upgrades ourselves. In particular, we feel that the Al Tahoe playground can not wait another two or three years until another attempt at a Bond Measure or any potential state grants. Already the slide has been removed due to safety, there are cracks in other areas of the play structure, the monkey bars do not conform to the latest height restrictions, it is old fashioned, and it does not meet the needs of our wide range of Club ages.
However, the Al Tahoe playground also gets a lot of use and not just by Club members. Little League, AYSO, the neighborhood community, Appleseed Academy, Elevated and others all make use of the play area, and so the Club needs to ensure that if we are raising funds for major improvements, that we get to design the new play areas and that all other parties are respectful and help it last!
Our hope is that improvements will be funded from grants and private donations, much like our building campaign, but we will also be open to a public private partnership or any other funding mechanism that will make the playground safer and a more enjoyable experience for every child that uses it. Our Executive Director will also keep up dialogue with the School District and look for any opportunity to assist in leverage funding to update the aging school facilities on the south shore.
Look out for more information and developments on this topic in 2023!
Another facility issue that came up last week is the delay in the construction of the new Recreation Center. As many of you know, the 2016 Measure P that provided funding for the new City Rec Center, included provision for BGCLT to have access to the Center. Our goal was to open a Teen Center focussed on recreational activities. That goal is now pushed back due to the announcement by the City that they did not receive credible bids for the construction of the Center. While disappointing, the Club applauds the City’s decision to wait a year and then re-bid, rather than contract for a ridiculously inflated cost. It is both the fiscally prudent approach and enables the City to monitor the economy and building costs, to hopefully achieve the best possible option in the long run. When the new Center is finally open, the Club will be ready to use it as best fits our families and members at that time.
If you have any questions on these topics, feel free to connect with our Executive Director Jude Wood.