Town council gives green light to construction of Island Grill facility
summit daily news
FRISCO ” Visitors to the Frisco marina this summer will have the opportunity to sip cocktails and enjoy a lakefront view while sitting on the upper deck of the new Island Grill restaurant.
The town council’s approval of the project paved the way for construction to begin as soon as possible on a permanent restaurant structure with outdoor customer seating and an indoor kitchen and bar area. A free-standing public restroom and shower facility is also part of the plan, as well as improvements to the site’s parking.
The new restaurant will include a 430-square-foot roofless upper deck, a covered lower deck and 70 seats. Both the eating establishment and the restroom facility will be located adjacent to the existing marina store and will share a common deck.
In 2005, the town contracted with local restaurateurs Bobby and Stephanie Kato to provide food and beverage service on the town waterfront property. Last year, the Tuscato Ristorante co-owners operated a full bar and served a light menu out of a temporary shed. The only restrooms available to diners and other marina visitors were port-a-toilets and small facilities within the marina office.
As part of the four-year concessionaire contract with the Katos, the town agreed to provide a permanent building for the seasonal restaurant this summer.
Construction costs are projected to be much higher than provided for in the town’s 2006 budget.
Originally budgeted for $340,000, expenses for both the grill and the restroom facility are estimated at $471,000, assistant town manager Theresa Casey told the council. Casey attributed the cost escalation to steep price increases in construction materials partially caused by Hurricane Katrina. The town has been able to obtain $90,000 of grant funding specifically for the restrooms and parking improvements, Casey said.
The council approved the expenditure, despite a dissenting opinion from Councilmember Dan Fallon, owner of a nightclub and restaurant located on the east end of Main Street. Fallon’s objections centered on his concerns about the cost of the project and the appropriateness of using town money to support a private enterprise.
“There are so many other ways this money can be applied,” he said. “Let the marina park be a park, and not something that’s subsidizing a food and beverage operation.”
Although he ultimately voted to approve the project, Councilmember Woody Van Gundy, who also owns a restaurant on Main Street, expressed unease about the effect of fluctuating water levels on the profitability of the business.
“My basic concerns are, is this truly a revenue generating entity or will it be a loser (in times of low water),” he said.
Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen was optimistic about the restaurant’s impact on the marina.
“It may be that having food and beverage there might save the operation in a low water year,” he said. “(It was) successful last year.”
The town hopes to begin construction as soon as this week, Casey said, with June 29 as the tentative opening date for the restaurant. Operating hours will most likely stay the same as last year’s: 11:30 a.m. until sunset.
Trinity West Construction of Dillon is the contractor for both the restroom facility and the grill.
In other business, the council appointed new members to three town advisory boards: Dodie Davies to Frisco Recreation Open Space and Trails, Eileen Davies and Jim Fuxa to the Planning Commission, and Bob Bloch, Steven Smith and Katie Roberts to the Economic Development Advisory Committee.
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