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Frisco museum plans for its future

LORY POUNDERsummit daily news

FRISCO At this time a year ago, Frisco Historic Park and Museum faced financial troubles and an uncertain future. Now, under the towns management, museum staff is working on a strategic plan for operations.Weve gone into this fiscal year strong, museum coordinator Simone Belz, told the Frisco Town Council at their work session this week.The town, which took over operations in February at the request of the non-profit organization that previously managed it, doesnt have a long-term plan for the historic park. However, determining how it will operate in the future will likely come about through the strategic plan this year.The reason for us entering into this process is … to explore what direction the community would like the museum to go, said Linda Lichtendahl, marketing and communications director for the town. We hope well get a lot of community participation.Throughout the next six months, museum staff will work to involve the public through focus groups, surveys and open houses. They will also be visiting other museums and working to identify long-term management strategies.Visitors have averaged about 100 a day and museum staff has already been receiving positive feedback from them, Belz wrote in a letter. Also, staff is working to implement more education programs at the historic park and expand activities on Founders Day.Tuesday, the council urged Belz to have concrete information to share with them by the fall so they can look at it when they start discussing the 2008 budget. The council budgeted $125,000 for the museum this year. It includes salaries for one full-time position and two part-time positions, exhibit improvements, maintenance and archiving, Lichtendahl said.About four months after the town took over operations last winter, the Frisco Historical Society, a non-profit organization founded in 1983 that had managed the park, dissolved as part of an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service.At the beginning of last year, the board discovered that executive director Rita Bartram, then the organizations only full-time employee, had not sent employee taxes to the IRS. They owed about $14,000 in overdue taxes and would have paid nearly $25,000 in penalties if they had not agreed to dissolve.Also at the Frisco Town Council work session and meeting… The council heard from Lucinda Burns, executive director of Early Childhood Options, about the need and importance of quality, affordable early child care. There is a high turnover of care providers, limited capacity and a gap between what providers can charge and what quality care costs, she said.Its just not sustainable in a private market, Burns said. Private/public partnerships are necessary to help this community problem, she added.Afterward, council member Tom Looby said, It seems to me that if were really going to realize our vision as a family-oriented community that were going to have to assist in childcare. He then asked Summit County Pre-School, which currently has 96 infants and toddlers on a waiting list, to send the council a list of needs. The potential summer art show was also a topic of discussion. Some council members still expressed reservations about the July 7-8 dates of the show after hearing concerns from business owners. Other council members then discussed ways to configure the show in the center of Main Street so businesses are not blocked off. Also, council member Bill Pelham suggested the possibility for businesses to have sidewalk sales during the art show. The Peninsula Recreation Area brought about some intense discussion. While some council members said they think implementation for new amenities, like a tubing hill, should begin, others said they would rather begin the public process and fit a design the public comes up with into the 2008 budget. Plans to schedule a work session with the Frisco Recreation Open Space and Trails advisory committee was suggested. Lastly, the council began a discussion about the towns parks and alcohol policy. Currently, only 3.2 beer is allowed. Staff recommended amending that because of the weddings and events that take place at the marina and parks. The council offered suggestions about fees, permits and locations. The town staff is planning to incorporate the feedback to bring something back to the council about the issue.


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