Frisco extends pedestrian promenade through September as it looks toward winter |

Frisco extends pedestrian promenade through September as it looks toward winter

Pedestrians walk along Frisco’s Main Street promenade.
Courtesy Town of Frisco

FRISCO — The Frisco Main Street Promenade will remain open at least through the end of September and possibly longer.

Officials discussed the pedestrian promenade and other topics related to COVID-19 business impacts at length during a Frisco Town Council session Tuesday afternoon, ultimately deciding to keep the amenity in place for at least another month.

“We as a staff have been monitoring a number of different factors to try to come up with a recommendation on how long the promenade should extend,” said Don Reimer, Frisco’s community development director. “… Because of the success that it’s been, our recommendation is that we continue to maintain the promenade in tact well into September and possibly into October while the weather cooperates.

“The overwhelming response (from businesses) was to keep it up as long as possible, as long as business activity is supporting the promenade, and to be flexible when its time to end it.”

Frisco launched the pedestrian promenade in June, allowing businesses to expand restaurant seating and retail space into Main Street to allow customers to keep their distance. It’s been open ever since, and merchants in the area have largely supported the effort.

According to a survey of Frisco businesses conducted between Aug. 13 and 18, more than 67% of respondents voiced that they would like to see the promenade remain open as long as feasible, according to the town.

Weather and business activity will ultimately be the deciding factors. As tourism to the county begins to dwindle this fall before ski season, the demand for the promenade may begin to wane, as well. And with winter approaching, the first major snowfall would likely spell an end to the program as officials dive into plowing and sidewalk maintenance.

Ultimately, the council decided it felt comfortable keeping the promenade open through the end of September and would take a closer look at conditions at their council meeting Sept. 22 to decide if they want to keep things open a little bit longer.

“I think (October) is the most optimistic outlook,” council member Melissa Sherburne said. “That would be great. We normally know a few days ahead of time when we’re going to get our first significant storm, and we need to be mindful of that. But farther out, we’re almost certainly going to be moving that date around, whereas I think we can safely get through September.

“I’d love us to plant a seed in our head for redoing the promenade next year and what that might look like. It was a total experiment … and I think there’s a huge opportunity to really take it to the next level and create something even more special.”

With the promenade likely to close in September or early October, other council discussions are already underway to decide how best to support businesses during the high tourism season this winter.

Earlier this year, the town passed an emergency COVID-19 order offering businesses temporary relief from certain town regulations, signage requirements and codes to help support recovery. At the meeting Tuesday, Aug. 25, the Town Council agreed to move the order’s expiration date from Oct. 31 to March 31.

Officials also discussed the possibility of bringing back the Love Frisco, Shop Frisco campaign after a successful summer.

Vanessa Agee, the town’s marketing and communications director, said the town has issued more than 3,000 gift cards through the shop local campaign, totaling more than $213,000. So far, 2,444 gift cards have been redeemed for a total value of $162,000 to local businesses, including bonus gift cards offered as incentives by Frisco.

The town will stop selling gift cards at the end of this month, but officials are planning to keep unspent funds from the campaign ready to go in case they decide to relaunch it this winter.

“In terms of the (shop local) program, I support wrapping it up as soon as possible and keeping involved until Christmas or Wassail Day or some other promotion in early December to help activate the retail sector,” council member Dan Fallon said. “… I think it’s best to keep that in our pocket and see what we can best do to benefit who we can when we know more.”

The town is also considering allowing restaurants and shops to set up their own individual yurts, tents or parklets this winter — similar to some locations in Breckenridge — if they’re able to keep them from negatively impacting other businesses and maintain them.

Though officials said they’re hopeful that members of the business community also will come forward with their own creative ideas for how the town can help support them once the snow starts falling.

“For now, it’s wait and see,” Fallon said. “On the COVID side of things, we just don’t know what will happen. So let’s keep our options open but wait for some good ideas and be ready to support those ideas when they begin to arrive.”

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