Frisco takes a hard look at its event lineup
Summit Daily News
At the Town of Frisco’s worksession Tuesday, council and staff questioned whether their current event line-up falls in place with community values, and how much it really benefits the local economy.
Each year, the Town of Frisco produces and supports about 23 events, including the Easter Egg Hunt, Beetlefest and ‘Vettes on the Rockies, all of which fall under a $1 million annual budget. About 12 are produced by the town, while the remaining are provided by outside vendors.
Town manager Michael Penny told council he wanted to explore what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and develop a stronger focus. Over the years, he said, the town has been tasked with bringing people into Frisco, and the numerous events meant to draw business – some of which shut down Main Street – don’t seem to please all the local businesses. He suggested council think about hosting more events that serve the local, active community’s values, and reconsider some of the food and arts events that have always been intended to serve tourists.
“Why are we in this business?” he asked council. Part of it, he said, is in the fear of stopping: that people will stop visiting and businesses will lose sales tax.
“To me, we’re not really helping anybody the way we’re set up,” he said. “The surveys that come back (from the community) are across the board.” He suggested letting local businesses band together to form events if they please, rather than planning everything through the town.
“It’s not getting out of the event business but maybe shifting it to who we really are,” he said.
Councilwoman Kim Cancelosi said even if events were more recreation-based, tourists would still come out to spectate.
“We don’t need an event to attract people to this community, we are the attraction,” councilwoman Eileen Davies said. She suggested each event be considered by who it’s going to please, how it helps the town, and how it benefits the community.
“There is a double production of meeting our goals and our mission, vision, and values, as well as creating a positive economic impact for the Town of Frisco,” town marketing and communication director Suzanne Lifgren said of considering events hosted by third parties.
This is the last year the town will host ‘Vettes on the Rockies. Lifgren said the event is not totally in line with those goals.
Councilman Kent Willis suggested council “go back to square one” and justify why they are spending the money.
“My theory is if we got rid of all the marketing, we would still have the same sales tax, and save ourselves a million bucks,” Willis said.
Councilman Larry Sawyer said it would be a valuable exercise to go through the events and budget to see what they could do differently.
You’re not going to please everybody, Councilman Gary Wilkinson said, but above all, the town needs to keep in mind the number one priority on resident surveys: maintaining a small community. Events that are eclectic, unique and maintain a small town character should be the priority, he said.
Discussions will continue in the near future after staff presents council with an outline of goals events should be meeting, as well as what criteria outside parties should meet.
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