Town Council’s discussion primarily centered on the Town of Frisco’s role as a travel destination and what that means for the Town in terms amenities, businesses, events, and quality of life for locals.
Changes to Frisco Event Lineup after Years of Evaluation and Discussion
Since 2019, Frisco Town Council has had a significant, ongoing public discussion about the impacts of events on the economy, resident quality of life, and visitor experience. These conversations most recently included a strategic events discussion during Council’s February 23, 2021 work session and follow up discussions on August 10, 2021 regarding July 4th and on September 28, 2021 regarding the Frisco BBQ Challenge. Subsequently after significant public discussion over three years, all six Frisco Town Council members in attendance at the October 25, 2022 meeting gave staff direction to no longer host the BBQ Challenge in 2023, to enhance the July 4th parade and concert in 2023, and to not pursue July 4th fireworks for 2023.
Council also directed staff to bring suggestions back to Council for an event over the traditional BBQ weekend that aligned with the community’s focus around arts and culture, such as a one-night revival of Frisco’s Music on Main to include a noteworthy musical act. In addition, Council provided direction to enhance the community’s 4th of July celebrations by boosting parade participation to include a limited amount of vehicles, creating a block party atmosphere on Main Street post parade by keeping a three-block area closed to vehicles to bring in performers, booking a more prominent band at the afternoon concert in the Historic Park, and organizing an evening boat parade at the Frisco Bay Marina. In future years, Council also wants to pursue more July 4th celebrations at the Marina when the landscaping and infrastructure could better accommodate.
BBQ Discussion Details
During the BBQ discussion, Council noted that Town staff had effectively brought the 2022 Frisco BBQ Challenge “back to basics,” as a result of community feedback, by eliminating ancillary components such as the Whiskey Tour, chef demos, carnival-like food and bounce houses, the firefighter cook-off, and street performers. Instead, the event successfully focused on BBQ, on providing a place for friends and family to gather, and on live music. Council gave this “back to basics” direction to staff during their September 28, 2021 discussion, when they also directed staff to return with a post-BBQ event recap.
While making the decision to no longer host the BBQ Challenge, Council also cited direct feedback that they received from local businesses that the BBQ Challenge did not have a positive impact on their businesses. Council also determined that they did not want this event to be the first and possibly only impression of Frisco that visitors would have, as they believed that Frisco seemed out of character and someone other than itself for the three days during the BBQ Challenge. In conclusion, Council emphasized that while the BBQ Challenge did become smaller and more localized in 2022, it still felt as if the event was out of step with the community’s values and had run its course.
July 4th Discussion Details
During the July 4th discussion, Council expressed an appreciation for the longstanding traditions of Frisco’s July celebrations of Independence Day and that enhancements to the July 4th parade, Main Street celebrations, and afternoon concert would better honor this community tradition going forward. Council did note that they did not intend the parade to be as it always had been and directed staff to arrive at a plan that encouraged human powered floats and brought a limited amount of vehicles that aligned with the Town’s character and values.
Council also voiced appreciation for July 4th fireworks over Dillon Reservoir, which they had directed staff to pursue for 2022, but which had to be canceled, as the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee (DRReC) denied the Town’s fireworks permit application in April 2022. DRReC cited the impacts on traffic, watershed, and wildlife; ongoing major road construction in Summit County and on I70; anticipated fire danger; and a lack of consensus among the Towns and Summit County to have an event with this level of substantial impact on the whole county. Also, securing permission from the School District to launch fireworks from this location was challenging and an agreement was not reached prior to the April 2022 DRReC decision.
Council acknowledged that there would likely be insurmountable hurdles to securing a DRReC permit in the future, and in the interests of being a good neighbor to all of the surrounding communities, none of which are supportive of Frisco’s fireworks display, they would not pursue a July 4th fireworks display going forward.
Frisco/Copper Mountain Visitor Center Remodel and Expansion Discussion
Following Council direction from the January 11, 2022 Town Council meeting, staff and the design team from Stais Architecture & Interiors (SAI) presented design concepts for the remodel and expansion the Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center (VIC) and Old Town Hall Park in response to previously identified challenges, including poor accessibility for ADA users, and severely outdated bathrooms that often are used beyond capacity.
The proposed design includes the expansion of the existing bathroom space, the construction of an accessibility ramp into the front entrance of the Information Center, and a refresh of the interior to include options to make the space more energy efficient.
While Council approved $1.6 million for this project in the 2023 budget, the proposed design exceeded the budget with a current construction estimate of $2 million due to rising construction costs and the nature of renovating an old building which will require all new utilities.
Council directed staff to return with a design that will maintain the original budget, while prioritizing accessibility and bathroom remodels. Council supported an ADA ramp on Main Street as proposed providing it does not impede pedestrian traffic or public works operations. Council also prioritized the addition of an all-gender bathroom alongside the remodel of existing bathrooms, with an expectation that a reduced building footprint from what was proposed will bring the project back within the $1.6M budget.
At the August 9, 2022 meeting, Council identified Old Town Hall Park behind the Visitor Information Center as a priority project for 2023. The Old Town Hall Park was identified in the 2019 Neighborhood Parks Master Plan as one of our community’s priority parks. SAI was asked to work on incorporating the design and implementation of the Old Town Hall Park update into the Visitor Information Center remodel and expansion. Some key elements presented included creation of a more open and welcoming space, lighting to connect the space to Main Street and provide more security, preservation of as many healthy trees and existing boulder features as possible, and the addition of a decorative screen between the park and the alley and adjacent businesses to provide a more park-like feel. The presented design concept was estimated to cost $250,000 for construction, well below the budgeted $750,000 for 2023, however staff anticipates the cost estimate to increase as the design becomes more refined and closer to construction.
Council directed staff to come back with two different designs for the park to offer flexibility based on future decisions about the Visitor Information Center.
Destination Management Plan
Staff presented to Council the benefits and challenges of having a primarily tourism driven economy to encourage Council discussion on whether additional strategies, such as the development of a destination management plan, are required to address the challenges. As a tourist destination, the Town of Frisco offers excellent outdoor recreation amenities, a thriving core district, and a high quality of life for people who live here. In turn, the identified challenges include parking, crowding at trailheads, and event fatigue. While Council did not support the development of a full destination management plan as they are already addressing those challenges through existing plans and projects, Council directed staff to develop written procedures for peak day management to be available for future use. Council also directed staff to tentatively budget for a community survey in 2024 or 2025 to better identify any additional challenges, potential solutions, and priorities. The last community survey was performed in 2020.
Summer Use of Main Street
Town Council discussed the future use of the Main Street public right-of-way by businesses in an effort to balance equity among businesses and the benefit of creating a community gathering space.
Town Council first created the Frisco Pedestrian Promenade in June 2020 as a response to public health-related occupancy limitations imposed on businesses during the pandemic and to allow for additional room for pedestrians to walk through the downtown while maintaining social distancing. The Town also provided businesses throughout Town with parklets, or deck-like structures, that allowed businesses to expand into Town parking spaces or other Town right-of-ways.
Town Council approved the Pedestrian Promenade again for the summer of 2021 with enhancements based on lessons learned from the prior summer, and continued to offer parklets. In October 2021, Town Council decided not to establish the Promenade for the summer of 2022, instead allowing businesses to use parklets or street space subject to a license use fee.
During the discussion for the summer of 2023, Council directed staff to engage in an extensive public process to help Council make a thoughtful, informed decision about the Promenade. Council stated that the resulting decision would be effective for the next five years, rather than something they would evaluate on an annual basis. Staff anticipates coming back to Council with this public feedback early in 2023. Parklets will still be available for summer of 2023 for a license fee, regardless of the Promenade decision.
Council also discussed an identified issue of cyclists riding on the sidewalks on Main Street. The Town currently has signage encouraging cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes on Main Street sidewalks. While acknowledging that cyclists on sidewalks can cause uncomfortable situations with pedestrians, Council decided not to pursue enforcement, citing that often children and novice cyclists are much safer on sidewalks than on the street. During this discussion, Council reaffirmed their priority to implement short-term aspects of the Complete Streets Plan and the soon-to-be updated Frisco Trails Plan that include painting existing bike lanes and paths as well as marking crosswalks where the lanes and paths cross intersections.
Second Reading: Approving ordinances for the annual budget for 2023
Town Council approved the second reading of two ordinances pertaining to the 2023 budget. Council discussed the budget during their September 27, 2022 meeting, with the desired changes Council offered at that time reflected in the presented budget ordinance. Staff estimates expenditures totaling $65,039,510; revenues and reserves of $90,521,082 are adequate to meet those expenditures, leaving a total ending fund balance of $25,481,571 at the end of 2023.
Overall, the Town’s fund reserves demonstrate the Town is prepared to weather an economic downturn with a seven-month reserve in the General Fund and conservative and strategic budget approach. Additionally, the Town maintains a contingency plan, identifying core and less essential spending that can be trimmed from the budget, as needed.
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.