Frisco’s economic development plan is missing a "silver bullet’
FRISCO – Some Frisco officials seemed disappointed Tuesday with Leland Consulting Group’s suggestions and strategies for the town’s economic development.
Councilmember Bernie Zurbriggen said he was hoping for a “silver bullet” – a solution to officials’ worries for lost revenues from Wal-Mart’s pending competition with Silverthorne’s Target.
“We’re anticipating a short-term problem,” Zurbriggen said.
“We would have done you a disservice to give you a silver bullet,” said Anne Ricker of Leland Consulting, adding that, in general, the average life of a business is seven years. “We need to give you something that will sustain you beyond that.”
Instead, Ricker and Terry Ware of Leland Consulting – the group the town hired to create an economic development plan for Frisco – presented the town council with a variety of general strategies, opportunity sites and priority actions.
Any economic development plan should be approached holistically, they said, and should include the participation of the community.
Among the short-term priorities they recommended were that Frisco establish an urban renewal authority, extend the town’s pedestrian walkways along West Main Street, design what’s known as a wayfaring program (to guide passers-by to Main Street) and establish funding sources, such as a lodging tax, which would be earmarked to create an infrastructure for economic development.
One way to encourage business and traffic along Main Street, for example, would be to require businesses to stay open past 5 p.m., Ware said.
“There’s a whole range of approaches you can take, from a benign, passive (approach) … to the middle ground … to the more draconian, “If you cannot have retail within 10 years, you have to be gone,'” he said.
It’s up to Frisco officials to determine their long-range goals to improve the town’s economic revenue base and how to realize those goals, Ricker and Ware said.
“There’s no right answer – just start,” Ricker said.
“It’s always being proactive,” Terry said of successful economic planning. “It’s not just waiting until your receipts go down.”
It will be at least another few weeks before the consultants’ economic development plan process concludes. The council has agreed to meet with community focus groups later this month, make appropriate changes to the plan and then adopt the plan, Town Manager Alan Briley said.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or email@example.com.
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