Town News

Catchup with Council, July 13, 2021 – PRA New Building Update, Childcare Discussion, 619 Granite Update, Workforce Housing Update

Peninsula Recreation Area – Building Update

Representatives with the Ohlson Lavoie Corporation (OLC) presented an updated design concept for a new building at the Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA). The two-story 7,340 square foot building, which is significantly smaller than the 20,000 square foot building originally proposed in the Comprehensive Vision and Project Implementation Plan, was first presented at the May 25, 2021 Council meeting.

The consulting team and staff have taken the feedback Council provided at that May meeting and incorporated it into the new design to accommodate current and future needs of the community and Adventure Park, the flow of guests and staff, parking, and wayfinding.

The new building concept is intended to complement the Day Lodge, which will continue to serve its current primary functions, while the new building would provide additional community space, expanded space for youth programming, additional restrooms and changing area, as well as offices for staff, which are currently primarily located in the Day Lodge basement. Tube storage was removed from the original design inside the building, and would be relocated to a screened/fenced in area closer to the base of the tubing hill.

Town Council provided positive feedback on the overall design and layout, and is looking forward to the next steps, which include a meeting with the Development Review Committee (DRC) and a review with the Planning Commission.

Childcare Discussion

Town Council discussed and considered strategies for making childcare more affordable and available in Frisco, as Council confirmed that childcare is vital to supporting and retaining year round residents and workforce. While there are several funding mechanisms through the State, Summit County, and Summit School District to reduce or eliminate childcare costs for families earning less than 85% of the area median income (AMI), the cost of childcare for local families remains prohibitive among residents and employees of local businesses, particularly for families who make just over the amount to qualify for State or Federal assistance.

For many years, Frisco Town Council has provided direct financial support to Frisco’s only privately managed daycare, Summit County Preschool. Summit County Preschool serves 70 preschool-aged children, about half of which are the children of Frisco residents or employees of businesses located in the Frisco/Copper area. The Town typically provides a yearly financial contribution of $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.

Council’s discussion centered on hiring and retaining staff at the Summit County Preschool, as well an interest in scholarships for families whose children attend the Preschool or in-home licensed childcare providers in Frisco. Council directed staff to work with Summit County Preschool to determine the budget shortfall if the Preschool were to raise salaries of Preschool staff as well tuition. Council also requested a 5-year capital plan from the Preschool. This discussion will be revisited at future meetings.

619 Granite Street Workforce Housing Project – Design Development Update

Representatives from Studio Architecture presented revised plans for the 619 Granite Workforce Housing Project, a partnership between the Town of Frisco and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Studio Architecture developed several conceptual designs, which endeavored to balance project goals of affordability, livability, and sustainability, and compliance with Town regulations, and initially presented these conceptual designs to Town Council for feedback on March 23, 2021. Based on feedback received during that meeting, the project team made changes to the plans for a 22 unit, three story, apartment-style development, reviewed by the Planning Commission on May 20, 2021.

Council directed the project team to continue to revise and refine the visual design by incorporating more aesthetically interesting elements. Staff will also begin discussions with CDOT regarding costs of construction, allocation of those costs, ownership of the units, and how the project will move forward.

New Town Manager Announced

Frisco Town Council approved a contract with Tony O’Rourke, hiring him as Frisco’s Town Manager starting on August 2, 2021. Mr. O’Rourke brings over twenty years of leadership experience in mountain communities which have tourism based economies reliant on natural resources as foundational for their economy and quality of life. In May 2021, Frisco Town Council appointed Jeff Durbin as the interim Town Manager, and Town Council is thankful to Mr. Durbin for his service and commitment to Frisco during this period of transition. Going forward through August 1, 2021, Diane McBride, Assistant Town Manager and Recreation & Culture Director, will serve as the acting Town Manager.

Workforce Housing Action Items Update

Workforce housing has long been a challenge in Colorado mountain resort communities, and the resulting lack of available employees has become a limiting factor in the local economy, in large part due to the steep rise in housing prices, which has limited the ability of employees to find rental and ownership opportunities. Since the June 8, 2021 Town Council meeting, staff has continued to work to implement the prompt and near-term policies per Council direction, including:

  • Issuing an Request for Proposals (RFP) for a property management and maintenance company for Town-owned rental properties
  • Meeting with the Town’s current STR management software company to resolve challenges and concerns with their software,
  • Scheduling a joint meeting to discuss Lake Hill with the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), as well as scheduling a Housing Summit in conjunction with Summit County and surrounding municipalities
  • Working to fill the new STR Specialist position, which will be responsible for the administration and management of the STR Program.

Council directed staff to amend the STR license fees as necessary to properly cover the administrative costs of the program. Staff have determined that $250 per license will cover the costs to including the new STR Specialist position. This new fee will be effective August 1, 2021. Council also discussed a moratorium on new STR licenses to allow staff to evaluate the Town Code and STR Regulations to address problems resulting from the current STR program. While no decision has been made, a discussion on a moratorium will be included on the next Council meeting agenda.  

Mobile Vaccination Clinic

Town staff announced that the State of Colorado’s free, mobile COVID-19 Vaccination clinic will be coming to the Main Street Pedestrian Promenade on Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17 from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines will be available.