Frisco to boost marketing and events in 2005
FRISCO – The town of Frisco will be hopping next year with music, markets and marinades.The town council tentatively agreed upon a 31-percent increase in the town’s 2005 marketing and events budget Tuesday night during a nine-hour work session on next year’s town budget. Some council members, however, were uncomfortable with the town’s expanding role in the event planning business, despite its contribution to the local economy.”In June, when we had the (Colorado Barbecue Challenge), our sales tax went up 14 percent,” said community relations director Linda Lichtendahl. “I’m not taking total credit for that, but the barbecue had something to do with it.”The town’s Community Relations Department, which oversees special events and advertising efforts, has a proposed 2005 budget of $549,000, comprising 10 percent of the town’s proposed 2005 general fund expenses. Of the nearly $130,000 increase over 2004, $75,000 comes from the town’s lodging tax revenues, as prescribed by Frisco voters when they approved the tax a year ago.The summertime Music on Main and Fourth of July weekend events received the biggest boosts, with about $50,000 in additional funds compared to 2004. The additional funds are earmarked for attracting bigger-name musical acts to perform at the events.”We’re trying to grow the weekend and increase the overnight stays,” said assistant town manager Theresa Casey. “And the value isn’t just in the one weekend of entertainment, it’s also in the marketing value so people will want to come back here again.”The Community Relations budget also includes $10,500 in seed money to start up a Wednesday evening farmer’s market in partnership with the Frisco Historical Society. The market will run from June 8 through Sept. 21 on Second Avenue, thus encouraging central core businesses to stay open later during the week, officials hope.”The idea is to animate Main Street at the dinner hour. We’ll probably do some advertising in Vail and Leadville, and we want to add some entertainment,” Lichtendahl said.The town also plans to add a competitive athletic event, the Summit Adventure Race, to its summer lineup. The event, which would incorporate running, biking and boating, would take place in September 2005. The department plans to continue its expanded marketing efforts with $16,000 in advertising on Front Range cable television stations and on the Summit Daily News Web site.Although the council informally agreed on the half-million-dollar marketing and events budget, several council members questioned whether throwing parties is a valid role for town government.”I know we have lodging tax money, and I know we need to spend it, but at some point, we have to realize that economic development involves more than just the business environment,” said Councilmember Dan Fallon. “What about safe sidewalks for kids to walk on? What about affordable housing? We could keep throwing money at parties, and in the mean time, ballfields aren’t getting built.”Most council members and the town manager agreed that the town ideally shouldn’t be in the events planning business, but that there is no agency prepared to assume the role. The Frisco Chamber of Commerce would be a top candidate, but the group lacks the funding and organizational power to take over large events like Music on Main.”Right now, we are in the marketing and events business,” said town manager Michael Penny. “I would like to get out of this business too, but it will be a slow and steady process.”In the coming weeks, the town’s budget will go through the public hearing process before council approval by the end of the year.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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