Friscoites to council: Focus on Main Street
FRISCO – People who live and work in Frisco love Main Street. They love its history, its charm, its restaurants and shops, its views of the mountains and its pedestrian-friendliness.That much was clear at a town meeting Wednesday night as more than 100 residents, business owners, town staff and elected officials turned out to discuss issues surrounding development proposed for the 15 acres of land behind Safeway and Wal-Mart.”We have the power to turn our Main Street into something we can be really proud of,” said Frisco resident Katie Wilson. “When you invite national chains and box retail into a community, you deplete that which is homegrown. Their profits are not recycled back into the community.”
About 30 people took the podium to ask questions and offer opinions about the 130,000-square-foot proposed development that would include national retailers, a Summit Stage transportation center and 20 units of affordable housing.About two thirds of those who spoke voiced clear opposition to a large commercial development with national chains; they feared deadly competition to independent businesses on Main Street and an erosion of Frisco’s small-town character.”We chose to buy here 13 years ago, because it was different than Omaha and Denver,” said Sandi Bruns. “Main Street seemed to be going in the right direction to preserve the charm and the historic nature of this town. We didn’t say, ‘Let’s find a place that has a Wal-Mart.'”A handful of residents at the meeting appealed to the town council to place the issue on the ballot. Others said they would support a property tax to stabilize town revenues through the ebbs and flows of the economy.
Peter Cudlip of Alberta Development Partners, the firm proposing the shopping center, has said that he has the town’s character and economy in mind.He is seeking tenants that would not directly compete with existing local business and maintain high design standards consistent with the town’s codes.”I think a lot more information needs to be disseminated before any decisions should be made,” Cudlip said after the meeting. “People need to know all the facts on the project and what can happen at this site.”Among what can happen, according to Alberta’s projections, is a $1 million boost to Frisco’s annual sales tax revenue – an enticing figure to a town government that has seen declining revenues because of the recent economic downturn.
Frisco resident and local business owner Don Sather advocated for a thoughtful, public decision-making process on the issue, including a public vote, but spoke highly of Alberta.”Alberta Development is an excellent candidate if there is to be development,” Sather said.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 x203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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