Tahoe Prosperity Center gets $164,348 federal grant for economic recovery

A look from above at Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay.

A look from above at Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay. Courtesy Photo

The Tahoe Prosperity Center announced Monday that it received a grant to facilitate a basin-wide economic recovery and resilience plan.

The Incline Village-based nonprofit received a $164,348 award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“Tahoe’s Transition – Economic Recovery to Resiliency, will create an action plan with steps for the region to implement to diversify the regional economy, which has become dangerously dependent on the tourism sector,” said Prosperity Center CEO Heidi Hill Drum in a press release.

Since the Great Recession, Lake Tahoe has transitioned from 42% reliant on the tourism sector to 62%, according to the center.

Tahoe struggled to get back the 5,000 jobs lost in 2008, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the region lost another 9,000 jobs.

Although tourism brings in $3 billion a year in revenue to the region, this is mostly on the backs of locals working jobs that don’t pay a living wage, which made it impossible for so many of Tahoe’s residents to prepare for a lengthy unemployment.

“Tourism dependency brings with it the added challenges seen in the region last summer: too many visitors driving up to the lake, impeding traffic, trash left on trails and beaches, and not enough respect for the area,” said the release.

The Center said it recognizes tourism will be a mainstay of Tahoe’s regional economy, so its first priority is to ensure that tourism remains a stable source of revenue and that existing businesses and jobs in the region are retained. It added that expanding sustainable recreation as part of the tourism sector will improve this cluster.

The Center will also focus on the workforce and the need for existing, new, and potential industries.

“We want to engage new residents, remote workers, and Tahoe’s other existing industries (health and wellness and environmental innovation) to help them bring new revenue sources to Tahoe’s economy,” said the release.

The Center was thankful to have th
e support of our two state’s senators and congressional representatives during the application process.

“I was thrilled to support the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s application for an EDA grant for CARES Act funds,” said Nevada Senator Cortez Masto in the release. “These funds will allow the Center to continue to partner with other groups to coordinate an economic recovery plan that benefits all of Tahoe. I’ll keep working in the Senate to secure additional resources for the region, protect the lake, and promote affordable housing, up-to-date transportation, and good-paying jobs in the community.”

The Center said it is important to transition Tahoe’s regional economy away from what has become normal and toward opportunities with higher wage jobs, less seasonality and greater accessibility.

“It is time to bring the families and young professionals that have been lost since the last recession back to the community,” said the release.

For more information, and to sign up for the monthly newsletter on the Tahoe Basin Recovery and Resiliency Plan, visit tahoe prosperity.org.

This story first published March 9 by the Tahoe Daily Tribune and is republished here with permission.


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