Placer approves funding to keep “Penny Bear,” North Lake Tahoe transportation improvements and buy property in Olympic Valley

Published June 25, 2019 

The popular art piece “Penny Bear,” transportation improvements and land acquisition in Olympic Valley were among 13 projects approved by the Board of Supervisors today for $2.3 million in lodging tax funding to support community projects in eastern Placer County.

This year, the Capital Projects Advisory Committee, co-chaired by the county and North Lake Resort Association, reviewed and evaluated 20 grant applications totaling over $3.4 million in transient occupancy tax funding requests. The 13 selected projects would also leverage over $68 million in local, state and federal matching funds. 

“The use of the additional 2% TOT funds in eastern Placer County to support the tourism master plan projects is a great service to our community,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “I wholeheartedly support the recommendations from the CAP committee to move forward with these projects.”

The committee recommended to the board 13 proposed projects that met the criteria of the TOT grant program and are high priorities within the county’s Tourism Master Plan. The popular “Penny Bear” public art installation in Tahoe City will be made permanent with the approval of $40,000 to match efforts undertaken by Tahoe Public Art. The board also approved $1 million to partner with the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Squaw Valley Public Service District to acquire a 30-acre parcel in Olympic Valley for public access, conservation and recreation. 

The Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project will receive $500,000 to enhance bike, pedestrian and transit connections within Tahoe City. Over $250,000 was approved for trail improvements including rebuilding portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail and supporting a multipurpose recreation trail connecting Northstar Village to the Lake Tahoe Basin. Funding for a feasibility study to explore a new visitors center on Donner Summit was also approved.

View the full list of the approved projects.

The Capital Projects Advisory Committee – a 13-member group representing the broad economic and geographic interests throughout eastern Placer County – evaluates project proposals based on how well they advance key priorities outlined in the Tourism Master Plan for the region. The committee is co-chaired by the County Executive Office and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and includes members appointed by community organizations representing resorts, small business, residents and visitors.

The committee makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on which projects should receive funding allocated from the TOT tax collected from lodging guests in eastern Placer County.