Leaders discuss Frisco-Wildernest road | SummitDaily.com

Leaders discuss Frisco-Wildernest road

FRISCO – In what they termed an “informational meeting,” a dozen business owners and politicians met Wednesday to discuss the idea of a new road to connect Frisco and Wildernest.

Plans show the road extending from Summit Boulevard in Frisco to Buffalo Road in Wildernest and include a bicycle and pedestrian walkway.

The idea is still being fleshed out and would need formal presentation to local government and planning authorities for consideration.

Plans are based on a Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District plan from the 1970s showing three possible connections between the areas, said Bob Starekow, owner of Silverheels at the Ore House in Frisco and one of the meeting’s organizers.

Gray Pearson, a local consulting engineer and owner of Pearson Engineering in Frisco, estimated the project would cost nearly $3 million.

“We’re not trying to rattle anybody’s cages prematurely,” said Starekow. “(However) there appears to be enough interest to investigate.”

The road would give Summit County a fourth east-west option to help when Interstate 70 and the Dillon Dam Road are closed. Swan Mountain Road is the only other alternative currently.

It also would ease the drive between Wildernest and Frisco, eliminating a trip through the often congested intersections in Silverthorne and the back-tracking involved.

Meeting participants discussed the impacts of the proposed road at length, outlining financial and transportation benefits to local residents and merchants while discussing possible citizen opposition and the acquisition of the requisite financing.

“Selling it to locals is going to be our first chore,” said local physician Jim Bachman. Bachman pointed to an emphasis on the bike path along with possibly facilitated Summit Stage access to Wildernest and Silverthorne residential areas as potential selling points.

“It makes it easier just to live in Summit County,” said Dan Fallon, owner of Barkley’s Margaritagrille in Frisco.

“I think it’s a real benefit to Wildernest and Mesa Cortina,” said Tony Snyder of the Buffalo Mountain Metro District.

However, others were more skeptical of the intentions of the plan and its public reception.

“You need to be more honest,” said Randy Hodges, a Dillon architect and former member of the board of directors of Buffalo Mountain District. “It needs to be more clearly stated in your purpose S you’re looking to increase traffic to Main Street in Frisco.”

Another participant pointed to possible objections that surrounding land would be transferred from U.S. Forest Service control and be developed.

Initially proposed as a benefit of road construction, such development was quickly denounced as both infeasible due to sewage and water access issues, and bad public relations.

Additionally, the question of funding elicited debate as various ideas were floated to finance the venture. Participants questioned who would most benefit from such a project and should therefore shoulder the burden of cost.

“I think the dance of how you fund this has to be transparent to the benefit to the town of Frisco,” said Frisco resident Dan Pins.

Others pointed to Frisco, Wildernest and Mesa Cortina as jointly holding the title of principal beneficiary and suggested new districting for a possible bond issue or a new mill levy incorporating all three.

“The total valuation in these entities could certainly support a $3 million bond,” Pearson said.

In general, meeting participants were enthusiastic about the proposal.

“I just can’t believe it hasn’t already been done,” said Frisco developer and landlord Rob Phillipe.

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at aleonard@summitdaily.com.

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