Life on the Summit: A new light shining in Frisco |

Life on the Summit: A new light shining in Frisco

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily
At the Frisco Town Council meeting on Tuesday, the council decided to name Rick Ihnken to former Councilman Larry Sawyer's place.
Summit Daily file photo |

About the only part of Frisco’s public utility service to offer better longevity than its aging Main Street lights is its public works staff leadership.

Director of Public Works Tim Mack has been with the town one year more than his assistant director, Rick Higgins. We’re talking 33 and 32 years, respectively. Right in the mix is Fleet Foreman Howard Freeman, who’s been here 26 years, and right on his heels is streets foreman Brad Thompson, with 25 years.

Coming in at 32 years of service are the now out-dated and soon-to-be replaced glass globe streetlights. It was back in 1982 when Mayor Doug Jones, since deceased, led a ribbon cutting ceremony for a modernized thoroughfare with Gov. Richard Lamm, who helicoptered up from Denver when developers Larry Feldman and Mike Stratton footed the flight bill.

“Frisco is fortunate to have such a dedicated public works department that everyday performs efficiently and safely while maintaining all the town’s assets,” says the current mayor, Gary Wilkinson.

Echoing his honor’s words is town manager Bill Efting:

“Public Works are the unsung heroes of Frisco. Today, Tim Mack was down in the pit working on a water leak on Hawn Drive — that is dedication — that is Frisco.”

As part of the approaching Frisco Step Up Main Street project, which includes the new lights, repaving the asphalt three decades’ plus old pavement, and a widening of the southside sidewalk, the town has budgeted $3.5 million for the modernization.

The town’s public works staff will be constructing and installing the 74 cost-saving, energy-efficient LED lights, that are designed with lightshade hoods to help eliminate skyward illumination pollution.

“With public works doing the fabrication work,” says Rick, “our costs will be $2,500 per pole, which includes the concrete base, timber and I-beam design.”

He and Tim figure by having the town employees do the fabrication and install, this will result in a total savings of about $300,000.

“I have to give credit to town council, headed by Mayor Gary Wilkinson, for pushing the need for something more than your standard streetlight,” says Rick. “Early on they made it perfectly clear they wanted to see something unique for this project.”

Another factor in the needed change is that parts for the old lights are no longer available.

Rick credits Elena Scott of Norris Design for providing the conceptual drawings based on town council input.

Several meetings later, working with Martin and Martin Consulting Engineering’s Mark Luna and Sean Molloy, the council and staff decided on the final design.

“Manufacturers’ costs exceeded $7,000 per pole, closer to $8,000,” Rick adds.

At that point public works decided it could take on this project in phases.

“We put together a team with Howard Freeman, Chris Leary, Brad Thompson, Chris Johnsen, myself and developed some specifications. I can’t say enough about these guys and their commitment and interest with this project. The Town of Frisco Public Works Department has a very talented group of individuals.”

“We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback on the design of the lights,” he explains. “We just need to order 30,000 pounds of steel next month and find a place to store it.”

Installation will run in phases with 20 lights each — from Madison to Summit Boulevard — beginning this fall and finishing in spring 2016. An example of the streetlight is out in front of Frisco Town Hall.

As councilman Tom Connolly, an architect with a little cabin office at Fifth and Main, says, “Show the new main street off in Phase 1. I believe we’re doing just that by remodeling both intersections as you enter into town.”

Because the town is utilizing “green” LED lights, officials plan to pursue a Xcel rebate.

Frisco Town Hall will host an open house to debut the lights on Wednesday, June 4 at 11 a.m., and 5 p.m.


In another bit of seniority news, Spike! congratulates Rich and Vicki Cook of Cook’s Welding on 40 years of service to Summit County.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to

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