Town News

Catchup with Council, November 09, 2021- Childcare, Arts & Culture, Federal Advocacy, Meadow Creek Ice Rink

Childcare Discussion

Town Council discussed and directed staff to move forward with strategies for making childcare more affordable and available in Frisco and Summit County. Early childhood care is a critical factor in attracting and retaining a quality workforce.

While there are several state, federal, and local funding mechanisms that reduce or eliminate childcare costs for families earning less than 85% of the area median income (AMI), the availability of childcare remains limited and cost-prohibitive for local families, particularly those who make just over the amount to qualify for State or Federal assistance.

Since 2011, the Frisco Town Council has provided direct financial support to Frisco’s only privately managed daycare, Summit County Preschool. Currently, Summit County Preschool serves 54 preschool-aged children, about half of which are the children of Frisco residents or employees of businesses located in the Frisco/Copper area; Summit County Preschool has a capacity of 79 children and due to hiring challenges seen across Summit County, the Preschool is not able to operate at its full capacity. The Town typically provides a yearly financial contribution of over $65,000 to Summit County Preschool to support this vital service for families. In addition, there are two state-licensed in-home day care providers in Frisco. The Town currently does not provide financial assistance to these two providers. Like many childcare facilities, the Summit County Preschool struggles to attract and retain a full teaching workforce due to low wages and high housing costs.

Council currently has $250,000 earmarked in the 2022 budget for childcare. During their discussion, Council strongly supported funding a tuition assistance program similar to the Town of Breckenridge, which bridges the gap between the current tuition and what families can pay. The Town of Breckenridge has offered to administer this program on the Town of Frisco’s behalf for $7,500.

Council also emphasized the importance of incentivizing the expansion and creation of in-home and private childcare options, creating a designated revenue source for childcare funding, and collaboration between the local governments as well as between the public and private sectors in order to alleviate the childcare availability and affordability issues.

Arts and Culture Discussion

As the presence of and desire for public art has evolved in Frisco, the Town Council supported using the 2022 public arts budget ($50,000) to create a five-year strategic arts plan to provide an arts and culture road map that aligns with the Town’s priorities, values, and character. Council also supported forming a Frisco Arts Council, which would be appointed by the Town Council. Council requested the involvement of third-party expertise as well as thorough public process in the development of the strategic plan, which would in turn include forming the Frisco Arts Council.

This strategic public art plan would look at arts and culture through the lens of the Town of Frisco’s strategic priorities to determine how to incorporate visual and performing arts throughout the community. The plan would define resource allocation, including suggested staffing and funding, along with events, community art projects, live/work spaces for makers, exhibition and creative spaces, and opportunities to purchase, commission, and acquire art.

Arts councils are typically comprised of creatives, residents with interest in advocating for the arts, business owners, arts administrators, not-for-profit leaders, and potentially a high school student.

MakeFrisco, a group of local artists, makers, art-minded community members, Town staff, and one councilmember, would continue to serve as an advisory committee that supports Frisco’s goals around community art and creative spaces as well as receive funding and guidance through the Frisco Arts Council. The members of MakeFrisco will be invited to apply for the Frisco Arts Council and participate as stakeholders in the strategic arts plan process.

Federal Advocacy Discussion

The Town of Frisco’s federal advocacy representative, Mara Sheldon of Squire Patton Boggs, identified and discussed the federal lobbying and funding priorities for the Town of Frisco in light of the recent passage of the Federal infrastructure legislation.  Priorities include wildland fire mitigation, housing, childcare, infrastructure, and environmental sustainability. Squire Patton Boggs works closely with both the Town staff and members of Congress to advocate for the interests of the Town.

Meadow Creek Ice Rink Discussion / Direction

Town Council directed staff to move forward with plans presented for improving and enhancing the use of Meadow Creek pond as an ice skating rink. The $42,100 in improvements will include hiring an additional seasonal employee, purchasing ice maintenance equipment and a storage shed, additional lighting, and partially enclosing the Meadow Creek Park gazebo. Council is also aware of the staffing and weather challenges, and recognizes that core services will always be prioritized.

This plan is the result of the September 14, 2021 Council direction that followed the presentation of the Ice Feasibility study.

Frisco Town Council Meetings: Ways to Participate

Frisco Town Council meetings are available to view via Zoom and YouTube, and are also held in person to make Town Council meetings easier to access for everyone. The public can provide comment during meetings via Zoom or in person (not YouTube), and a public comment period will be available at 7:00pm; during the consideration of ordinances; and at the discretion of Town Council during work session items, which are discussions that don’t require a formal vote by Town Council and do not require public comment.

Again, this hybrid approach is intended to make Town Council meetings more accessible, and meeting recordings will typically also be made available the day after a meeting in the meeting archive with agenda topics bookmarked to the discussions in the video.