Located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe lies the last little hold out when it comes to the price of real estate on the Lake. Don’t get me wrong, it is still expensive, but in comparison to the other lake locale prices, well, it is hard to beat.
Kings Beach has changed a lot since I lived there a few years ago. It always had a distinct charm about it, but it was certainly more rustic than the neighboring towns of Tahoe Vista and Tahoe City to the west, and Crystal Bay and Incline Village to the east. The fact that Kings Beach was not inundated with McMansions, exclusive clubs, and expensive restaurants meant the rent was cheaper, and there were fewer tourists clogging up the place in the winter and summer.
The sacrifice of living there meant few restaurants to choose from, even fewer cultural activities, and a tired neighborhood consisting of many dilapidated houses. It was still a great place to live, but there were a few things left to be desired.
Now, Kings Beach seems to be injected with new energy and focus. This could be the result of finally being truly discovered, but I think it is more than that. I am seeing more concerned citizens consisting of a diverse demographic who are carving out their lives at roughly 6,300 feet. They are motivated and want to see positive change for Kings Beach. There have been many lessons learned when it comes to planning and redevelopment in Lake Tahoe, and the inhabitants of Kings Beach will certainly benefit from that knowledge and experience.
The last time I was there I took in some music at the new outdoor stage that was recently constructed right on the beach. In the summer, there is free music there every Wednesday night. I observed many different families and overheard conversations oriented around the future of Kings Beach. People talking of promise and new, exciting projects like sidewalks, which have long since been planned but have never been a reality. I suspect they will soon be brought to fruition.
Riding my bike around I observed refurbished homes and new businesses springing up. One new business that recently opened in town is Pastore/Ryan. These two entrepreneurs are symbolic of the evolution that is occurring. They focus on sustainable design and engineering with a mission to “improve efficiencies and minimize environmental impacts.” What I see is a business that wants both its business and its surrounding environment to be successful, and this does not happen without a healthy community as well.
With change and growth come new challenges, and Kings Beach will certainly face them. Striking a balance between the preservation of Lake Tahoe, and the economic challenges of maintaining a community there will be difficult. Affordable housing, parking and traffic, and the pressures of tourism and 2nd-home ownership are just a handful of the issues. But from the perspective of someone who would often get a little bored with the tired surroundings of old, I am excited to see how Kings Beach will meet these challenges and maintain their community, bolster their economy, and preserve and protect Lake Tahoe.