Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Column 45 - Incline Vision

At a party recently an acquaintance mentioned he was going to be traveling to Aspen soon and how much he liked the small-town atmosphere of Aspen. He wondered why we don’t have a similar setup here – “it seems like there is nothing doing in Incline” he said. Recently a letter-writer to the Bonanza voiced a similar complaint in terms that were uncomplimentary to our little space in the woods.

On the one hand, they’re right. As Gertrude Stein didn’t really say about Oakland, “there’s no there there!” I've been coming to Incline since long before I moved here, and it always seemed to me that I must have missed it. At the same time that’s kind of nice. We don’t have a “downtown” like Truckee or Aspen, with shops cheek by jowl and people jostling just to walk on the sidewalk. We didn’t even have sidewalks until not so long ago. And it’s not like there is nothing to do here, it’s just not right here – we can go a few miles south to Shakespeare at Sand Harbor, a few miles west to concerts put on by the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, to films put on by the film festival, and if we get tired of the restaurants here, ranging from the rotisserie Mexican cooking of T’s to the gourmet fare of Le Bistro, Frederick’s, Big Water, and the Lone Eagle with everything in between including some of the best Thai food I’ve had outside Bangkok, we can go a few miles to take in over 70 restaurants – more if you count South Shore.

I’ve written positively about the effort of the IVGID Board and the CAB to create a vision for Incline’s future, and that effort is just getting underway. The Bonanza has asked us to sound off on what we want Incline to be like in the future on the North Tahoe Living web page, and the last time I checked, the responses were pretty sparse. Do we want a “village center” with stores and the look and feel of an Aspen? Or do we want to hide the businesses and stores even more than they are? Let your voice be heard – silence on important issues gets what it deserves and costs us the right to complain later, a right we all hold dear here.

On another front, it looks like we are going to be the proud (part-) owners of Incline Lake, and we may get our cross-country ski area back. Personally, I think that’s great – how do you feel about it?

And last week President Bush signed a transportation bill of gigantic proportions (despite having sworn to veto anything that big, but that’s a subject for a Sunday column), and it included $8 million for Tahoe water-borne mass transit. I rode high-speed hydrofoils and catamarans in Greece and thought they were amazing – I don’t like to go to South Shore, but I probably would go just for the fun of riding one of those craft, and what about getting to Tahoe City or the West Shore in a shorter time than you could drive it, with none of the summer traffic hassles? Of course this will entail putting in better mass transit to move people to and from the ferries, etc., etc. How do you feel about that.

One of the most precious freedoms of our democracy is the freedom to sound off and be heard – take advantage of it. Go to and make your feelings known. Oh, and enjoy the rest of this glorious summer.

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