When you close your eyes and think of Lake Tahoe, what comes to mind? Majestic snow-covered peaks, a pristine blue lake, and nature's wonders at every turn. However, there are a number of properties in the area that don't quite match this picturesque image. Abandoned gas stations, vacant commercial buildings, and homes reminiscent of Sanford and Son may be an unfortunate reality, but our community is ready to change that.
Beauty is subjective, and some might argue that blight is in the eye of the beholder. Some properties simply lack the care and pride of ownership that we'd expect. Others pose safety risks due to hazardous materials, demanding immediate attention for the sake of public well-being. And there are those that have been inherited by distant family members who might not fully grasp the fire hazards posed by overgrown vegetation and neglected roofs. These abandoned structures not only endanger safety but also become hotspots for criminal activity, vandalism, and graffiti.
As residents of a vibrant vacation resort community, our local economy thrives on visitors and tourism. By presenting a beautiful image, we can enhance the experiences of businesses, vacation rentals, and our entire community. While the recent community cleanup event did an outstanding job of removing trash and debris, it didn't address the individual properties where owners show little interest in tidying up their yards. While a stack of firewood may blend naturally in a mountain environment, dismantled cars and old appliances certainly do not belong in residential areas.
However, it's not just private property owners and businesses that contribute to blight in Incline Village. Even government entities and agencies are guilty of neglecting properties. Take, for example, the old elementary school on Southwood Boulevard, which has sat closed for two years. Despite a viable proposal to demolish the buildings, install necessary precautions, and transform the land into a public park or transportation hub, the property remains fenced off and deteriorating. The age and asbestos present in the structure only amplify the potential hazards it poses to the neighborhood and environment, especially in the face of natural disasters.
Moving over to Crystal Bay, the situation becomes equally disheartening. Numerous developers have come into the community, acquiring existing structures or businesses. However, due to funding constraints or legal disputes with local organizations, these buildings stand boarded up, abandoned, and subjected to vandalism. As developers work tirelessly to secure additional funds and navigate through the legal obstacles, the community is left with a visual reminder of unrealized potential.
Fortunately, change is possible. If enough members of the public come together and exert pressure on the owners of these neglected properties, we can start to witness improvements taking shape. Incline Village and Crystal Bay have the potential to flourish, with a renewed focus on reviving these areas and transforming blighted properties into vibrant, thriving spaces.
As a community, let's envision a future where every property reflects the natural beauty that surrounds us. By joining forces, we can create a welcoming atmosphere that not only benefits our local businesses but also ensures a memorable experience for every visitor who enters our remarkable community. Together, we have the power to revitalize Incline Village and Crystal Bay, making them shining examples of what a united community can achieve.