Frisco Main Street options range from $2.3M-$4.7M

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
Daily file photo A rendering of what the full treatment proposed for Frisco Main Street might look like. The town council is also weighing less-costly options.

If Frisco Town Council opts not to entirely redesign Main Street at a cost of $4.7 million, it has the option of doing basic improvements at $2.3 million or revamping the strip with some additional items for $3.7 million.

The infrastructure has been aging since improvements were made on it in 1982, and officials worry crack sealing and pothole patching will only go so far in keeping Main Street’s base layer intact. The community also indicated it wanted council to focus on the town’s appearance and sense of community as well as economic development – many of which are influenced by a vibrant Main Street.

So, in 2009, town council directed staff to begin looking at options to revitalize Main Street. The Step Up Main Street project was born not long after.

According to a recent presentation, revitalizing Fort Collins’ downtown core increased sales tax revenue 7 percent. In Colorado, investing in public infrastructure for private benefit leverages town dollars at $3 for every $1 spent. And there are other ancillary benefits.

The complete Main Street design proposed widening sidewalks, resulting in better alignment with the western and eastern ends as well as a narrower road that could slow traffic. Shortening crosswalks could mean better pedestrian safety, and improving storm drainage would help icing sidewalks and parking areas.

Lighting is also included in the entire design to coordinate the mismatched light posts scattered through town. Landscape features with built-in benches could enhance the pedestrian experience and help the town save money on annual spring planting by allowing them to plant perennials.

The proposed Third Avenue pedestrian plaza has been removed from all options, labeled as a $420,000 extra the town can add later, if desired.

If town officials opt for the base improvements, drainage may not be properly addressed, engineers said. Bus stops wouldn’t be improved in the same way, the streets still wouldn’t align properly, lighting would stay mismatched and traffic could still speed through town. Councilwoman Kim Cancelosi advocated removing the angled parking to enhance bicycle safety, but engineers and officials said too much parking would be lost.

Savings would total about $1.5 million. If curbs and sidewalks are improved, savings would total about $1 million from the full plan.

Frisco spends about $40,000 annually for curb replacement and hardscape improvements, and $11,000 on landscaping materials and labor – both of which slightly offset the costs of the proposed infrastructure, officials said.

Main Street could last a few more years before it becomes unservicable, staff added.

Councilman Larry Sawyer wanted fellow council members to discuss and choose an improvement option and set a budget before going to the public for input, but others wanted to hold an open house so the public can give feedback on all options.

“Maybe we should get input from other people that we’re not already thinking of,” Councilwoman Kathleen Kennedy said, to which Councilman Kent Willis added, “I would like to hear especially what the merchants on Main Street think.”

Sawyer said he walked Main Street twice in the last few weeks to get business input.

Councilman Woody Van Gundy said he’d like to approach Main Street businesses to see if they’d be willing to partner on the project meant to boost the downtown economy.

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