by Tim Hauserman
The North Tahoe Fire Protection District moved out of it’s lakeside fire station above the Commons Beach in Tahoe City in 2011. Since that time the large gray building has remained unoccupied. Several attempts have been made over the years to focus in on what would be the best use of the site. In the past year, Placer County has initiated a process to locate a private or semi-private entity to turn the old firehouse and the adjacent Tahoe Community Center next door into a vibrant part of downtown Tahoe City.
“Our goal is to find the best use for the site that will facilitate improvement to Tahoe City’s community, environment and economy,” said Jennifer Merchant, Placer County’s deputy county executive officer for Lake Tahoe. “We’re really excited to work with stakeholders and the community to find the right fit.”
A proposal is being prepared for the site by Siren Arts, a small grass roots organization founded by three locals with backgrounds in arts and event management: Renee Koijane, Abigail Gallup, and Christin Hanna. In addition, a growing list of folks are joining on to support the proposal, which is currently being prepared to meet Placer County’s deadline of the end of February.
Siren Arts proposes a multi-use space centered around a flexible community center that could be used for everything from dance performances to theater to corporate meetings to weddings. The facility would also include artists studios, a public art gallery, and smaller meeting spaces. The organization would avail themselves of the services of Artspace, which according to its website “is a national leader in the field of developing affordable space that meets the needs of artists through the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and new construction.”
Placer County’s goals for a proposal is that it will bring people together, provide economic benefit to the community and enhance Tahoe City’s sense of place. They are also looking for a proposal that garners a great deal of public support. Go to sirenarts.org to find out more about the proposal and if it sounds like something you would like to see in Tahoe City, add your name to the list of supporters.