County chamber leader talks VICs |

County chamber leader talks VICs

FRISCO – Government leaders don’t need to choose between the Summit and Frisco chambers of commerce for visitor information center management, said Summit Chamber of Commerce executive director Constance Jones. Two grant proposals by the separate entities have community leaders pondering who will run the information centers, but Jones said she wants to work with the Frisco organization to keep centers open here and in Silverthorne. Frisco town manager Michael Penny warned community leaders last week of a competition brewing between the two chamber entities to run the information centers in order to attract membership. “We want to continue to be a partner,” Jones said. “Working together is really the key component.”Jones still wants to avoid polarizing the business community with competition, but she acknowledges that running the centers is not a priority for the organization.”We would do it if nobody else is interested, but we don’t want to have a major responsibility for it because we need to do other things to show value to our membership,” she said.Community leaders balked at Jones’ financial proposal that doubles municipality contributions and adds a $12,000 management fee.”We put down the true costs so people had an understanding of what they’d be getting into,” Jones said, emphasizing the importance of the information centers as a valuable resource for guests and residents.”Look at what the county is spending putting the bike path around the lake,” she added. “That’s $2 million per mile and we’re serving the same people doing that. There seems to be some inequities here and we need to examine what’s important.”Due to a prior commitment, Jones could not attend the leaders’ meeting last week. But she said she has individually met with mayors and town managers since starting her job Aug. 2. She received a cordial reception but no confirmed financial commitments. “I’ve been really trying to connect with all these people to get their ideas and evaluate how we can come up to a shared vision,” she said.The visitor information centers ran into financial trouble that materialized this summer with the closure of the Frisco Summit Boulevard location. It reopened on Main Street with the help of the town and the Frisco chamber. While leaders support the existence of the information centers, support for the Summit Chamber dwindled over the summer as community leaders watched the scramble to keep them open for the summer tourist season. They complained of a lack of communication – although they each hold a seat on the board. Jones is banking on communication to improve the organization’s standing with leaders.”It has to be a strong and trusted relationship,” Jones said. “I’m trying to rebuild the trust between those entities and I feel we can do that because we’re working for the common good here.”Jones said business owners should join both chamber organizations, no matter which one may offer the information centers as a benefit.”They can’t afford not to join because they will get a return on their investment much greater than the cost of their membership,” she said, while acknowledging that some business owners may not recognize those benefits. “It’s a part of our membership service to be an information and referral resource but we’re doing much more to show value to our members. I feel there’s not a clear understanding of that role and we need to better define it.”Leaders also questioned whether information would be distributed equally at the two locations, depending on who funded them. Jones said employees at the centers are fair.”They do not show a preference to anyone in the community,” she said. “They represent the entire area.”She expected to attend a town managers meeting to further discuss the issues today.-Kim MarquisKim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at

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