Town News

Catch Up with Council, January 26, 2021 – Envisioning Frisco’s Future, Park Improvements, Water Service Request, 619 Granite Update, Disposable Bag Phase-out, COVID-19 Response

Visioning Conversations for Frisco’s Future

Town Council heard a presentation from the Insights Collective team on Frisco’s current economic position and potential future scenarios for the Town. The Insights Collective is a group of experts with an array of tenured experience in the destination, tourism, and mountain-town community fields. This is the first of two work sessions where the Insights Collective Team will present topics that include economic drivers for Frisco and the possible realities brought by the experience in the past year.

The local business community has come to rely upon tourism, including the secondary impacts of tourism such as professional/community services, along with the financial support from 3,000 Frisco residents and collectively the 31,000 countywide residents who may frequent Frisco’s stores and services. The Town’s businesses generate approximately $250M in annual retail/commercial sales alone. As evidenced by the impacts brought on by the pandemic, there are few businesses in Town, if any, that could survive solely on a customer base of full-time residents. Local businesses, and the overall economic activity in Town, is wholly dependent upon a vibrant tourist-based economy, including a new type of tourist brought to town as a result of the pandemic: the remote worker.

Council acknowledged the importance of tourism as an economic driver and vital to local businesses, and the discussion focused on how to find harmony between resident quality of life and visitor experience, while retaining Frisco’s character by encouraging full time residency by expanding housing opportunities and managing tourism. During future Town Council work sessions, Council will also consider events and how they fit into the vision for Frisco.

The January 26, 2021 conversation between the Collective and the Council will serve as a backdrop for a second work session, scheduled for February 11, 2021 at 4:00pm, where the discussion will turn to what Council might envision for the next few years and which potential scenarios Council would like to pursue. Communities that spend time reflecting on their vision for the future are far more likely to achieve their desired outcomes than communities that are just reacting to changing conditions, and that is why Council is taking on this conversation now.

2021 Park Improvements

On October 8, 2019, Town Council approved a resolution adopting the Neighborhood Parks Master Plan, a conceptual master plan outlining community priorities for park improvements which aligned with Council’s priority for vibrant recreation. In 2020, Town Council allocated $750,000 for the restroom and playground replacement at Walter Byron Park. This work was completed in the fall of 2020. As part of the master plan process, Town Council discussed annually budgeting funds to continue moving forward with park enhancements. $200,000 has been included in the budget for park improvements in 2021.

During the 2019 Park Master Planning process, the improvements at Walter Byron Park were identified as the top priority, and safety and security enhancements at Meadow Creek Park as the second priority. Upon reviewing the master plan for both parks, staff has identified two possible scenarios for continued improvements in 2021:

Completion of Walter Byron Park Improvements

Completion of additional items at Walter Byron, such as installation of the nature play elements, remodel/update of the gazebo to match restrooms, build wetland viewing deck and pathway connections, installation of overhead lighting, slow-zone bollards, and lawn improvements. The additional items at Walter Byron include several items from the master plan that would add a more finished appearance to the main entrance and circulation areas of the park.

Enhance Safety and Security at Meadow Creek ­

This includes lighting along pathways and picnic areas, and thinning the berm and cleaning up the landscaping along Meadow Drive for to achieve better sightlines into the park.

Based on estimates provided in the master plan and recent construction projects, staff estimates that either scenario would cost approximately $175,000 to $200,000. For currently budgeted 2021 funding, Council decided to prioritize safety and security improvements at Meadow Creek Park in order to address previous concerns and account for increased usage of the area due to the development of Basecamp Center, and subsequently, Council directed staff to move forward with those improvements in 2021. Council will be revisiting the 2021 budget in March 2021 and will discuss completing Walter Byron Park improvements in 2021 if budget allows.

Water Service to an Out-of-Town Residential Unit

Council discussed and subsequently denied a request to provide water service to an out-of-town property, a cabin on Goldfinch Lane in Bill’s Ranch in unincorporated Summit County. According the Town Code, it is the Councils’ sole discretion to approve or deny the request for water service outside of the Town’s boundaries.

In the past, Town has granted water service to areas outside of town limits such as County Commons area, Evergreen Subdivision, and Summit Middle School, and a transfer of water rights to the Town were included in many of the agreements to offset the depletion of the Towns’ historical rights. However, such service has never been granted to an individual residential property. Council cited concerns regarding planning for future demand for water within Town limits as development and housing expands, as well as not wanting to set a precedent for one-off requests and the associated ramifications of responding to each request separately.

619 Granite Street Workforce Housing Update

Frisco Town Council approved a contract between the Town of Frisco and Studio Architecture in the amount of $259,725 for architecture, engineering, and site planning services for the lot owned by Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) located at 619 Granite Street. Council also approved an amendment to the Workforce Housing Planning Agreement between CDOT and the Town to increase the design expenditures to $300,000 from the originally agreed upon $200,000.

Town Council originally approved the agreement between CDOT and the Town on August 25, 2020. The Agreement lays the foundation to jointly undertake all necessary actions to design and develop workforce housing units by requiring CDOT and the Town to share all costs 50/50 (excluding each agency’s staffing and personnel costs) to develop 80% construction drawings and final construction cost estimates to design the project by December 31, 2021. The agreement also sets forth the parameters regarding selection and engagement of professional consultants and contractors, and does not bind CDOT or the Town to final construction of a project.

Second Reading Ordinance 21-01, Disposable Bag Ban and Bag Fee Program

Council passed upon second reading, Ordinance 21-01, which will ban disposable plastic bags and paper bags with less than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material, and continue a single-use bag fee of $.25 for paper bags only, which contain more than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material. Restaurants will now be included in this program, which is a departure from the original bag fee program passed in 2019, but will still be exempt from charging and remitting the $0.25 bag fee.

On January 1, 2020, the Town of Frisco began collecting a single-use bag fee in order to discourage the use of disposable bags and reduce waste, yet many disposable single-use bags are still being used and end up in landfills, litter the environment, use precious resources, impede drainage systems, and impact wildlife.

A ban on single-use plastic bags and paper bags with less than 40 percent post-consumer recycled material will address environmental concerns, while still allowing businesses to offer their customers single-use paper bags with over 40 percent post-consumer recycled material that are recyclable and more biodegradable than plastic bags. To stay consistent with the Towns of Breckenridge and Dillon and to allow businesses to plan for this change and to use current bag inventories, the new ordinance will not go into effect until September 1, 2021.

This ordinance was passed on first reading at the January 12, 2021 Town council meeting, and Town Council requested that edits be made to the broaden violation and penalties to include managers and the businesses themselves, rather than the individual employees.

General Discussion COVID-19 Response

Frisco Pedestrian Promenade

Council briefly discussed reinstalling the Frisco Pedestrian Promenade for the summer of 2021, but determined that a decision could not be made without first understanding the impact of the final phase of the Colorado Department of Transportation Highway 9 project this summer. Council also discussed enhancements to the Promenade, if it were relaunched, including adding public art, lighting, and more aesthetically pleasing fencing for individual businesses, and tweaking the site layout.

Business Assistance Grant Programs

Two Town of Frisco Grants

Funding is still available through two Town of Frisco grant programs, the Frisco General Business Assistance Grant Program and the Frisco Business Innovation Grant Program. The General Business Assistance Grant Program recognizes that some businesses have been more severely impacted than other businesses throughout this pandemic, and therefore, the General Business Assistance Grant is a tiered program designed to help businesses who need the most support. Grant funding is based on loss of gross revenue or sales from January 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020, as compared to the same time frame in 2019, and rent or mortgage amounts.

Town Council also approved the Business Innovation Grant Program to support businesses, which have made innovative investments during the COVID-19 pandemic and pivoted quickly to adapt to public health orders. The Innovation Grant offers up to $5,000 per business as reimbursement of expenses incurred for structural and/or technical improvements.

As of January 26, 2021, 89 grant applications were in various stages of progress and completion, and the Town of Frisco had awarded $243,510 in grants.

Council asked staff to return with amendments to the grant program resolution on February 9, which would extend the application deadline for both grants, which is currently January 31, 2021, and to expand eligibility to new businesses that have opened or worked to open between January 2020 and March.

One State of Colorado Grant Being Administered by the Town of Frisco-

The Town is also administering the Colorado Small Business Relief Grant, which is open to applications through February 7, 2021. That grant was established during the December Colorado General Assembly Special Session through Senate Bill 20B-001.  Industries eligible to apply for this grant per the State of Colorado grant guidelines:  restaurants, bars (includes establishments like a winery, brewery, or distillery), caterers, movie theaters, or gyms/recreational sports centers/fitness providers.