Frisco promenade to stay through Labor Day; leaders strategize as winter approaches
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more recent Live Frisco, Shop Frisco campaign numbers.
FRISCO — There’s no question that the Frisco Main Street promenade has been a hit among visitors. Now town leaders are looking at ways to keep the street alive as winter looms.
At a virtual business meeting Wednesday, July 15, the Frisco Town Council and local business leaders discussed strategies to increase traffic for lodging business and ways in which the town could keep the promenade running into winter. Council member Dan Fallon confirmed the promenade will remain at least through Labor Day. However, council members are looking at ways to keep it in place as the pandemic continues.
“There’s always that hope, of course, that if the status quo stays at least the same, if not improves, then the promenade itself becomes a certain kind of an attraction,” Fallon said. “It will start to have its own weight of success and hopefully attract more people.”
At the beginning of June, the town of Frisco launched the Live Frisco, Shop Frisco campaign along with the promenade. As part of the campaign, people are able to purchase from the town e-gift cards for discounted prices at Main Street businesses. As of Tuesday, the gift cards have generated $130,000. Of that revenue, $70,000 has been put back into local businesses through the gift cards, according to the Town of Frisco website.
In addition to successful sales, business owners have heard support for the promenade from their customers. Alpine Inn owner Bernadetta Matys said that while her business is down about 20% in reservations, her customers are sharing excitement over the promenade.
“They do come back and they truly say how great (the promenade) is and how much they enjoy it,” she said.
While it has had a successful start, officials are asking business leaders for more innovative solutions that would keep the promenade running as winter approaches.
“Things are going to change,” council member Rick Ihnken said. “We’re not going to have all of the ideas.”
Ihnken said winter likely will mean a reduction in the availability of outdoor seating on Main Street. Restaurant owners especially will have to figure out new ways to bring in customers.
Town Manager Nancy Kerry suggested business owners look into having heaters and tents placed in outdoor seating areas.
The tent and heater solution will require business owners to follow regulations set by the county and state.
“It has to be a specific type of tent and a specific type of heater,” Community Development Director Don Reimer said. “It ultimately gets a permit from the fire department to have that heating element under the tent.”
The council also discussed potential solutions to air quality concerns inside restaurants. Researchers have found that the virus can spread through the air in small particles called aerosols, according to reporting by The Washington Post.
Right now, the concern about the virus spreading through the air is alleviated with outdoor dining. As temperatures drop, however, outdoor dining will become more difficult, and restaurants will have to look at their ventilation systems.
“This is going to come down to people’s understanding of the air quality indoors and whether we can transcend that level of concern and represent … that people can be indoors with confidence,” Fallon said.
Even when it comes to tents outside of the restaurant, owners will have to assess the air quality to make sure the virus isn’t spreading.
“I may prefer to sit indoors in a restaurant where I know there’s ventilation than outside in a tent where I know there is not,” Fallon said.
Until winter, however, promenade businesses are planning to keep doing what they’re doing. In a previous meeting, Susan Wentworth and Bruce Knoepfel, co-owners of the Frisco Lodge on Main Street and Frisco Inn on Galena Street, expressed frustration over the promenade because it decreases visibility of their businesses.
Since that meeting, the town has worked with Knoepfel and Wentworth to create signage and increase visibility.
“That was awesome that the town got (the sign) up on the same day that we talked about it,” Knoepfel said at Wednesday’s meeting.
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