Town of Frisco takes on historic park operations
FRISCO – The town of Frisco will take over day-to-day operations of the Frisco Historic Park from the Frisco Historical Society at the end of this month.The historic park property, on Main Street near Second Avenue, and seven of the 11 buildings located there, are owned by the town. The historical society, an independent nonprofit organization, has operated the museum and maintained the park’s collection of historic artifacts for more than two decades.Financial support for the society from the town has increased steadily in recent years. For 2006, the town committed to contributing $51,000, or more than half the park’s annual budget of nearly $90,000. The historical society was responsible for raising funds to cover the remainder of the operating expenses.
Under the new arrangement agreed on by the council Tuesday, the historic park will now be town-run. Museum staff will become Frisco employees and the town will pay for the park’s utilities and building upkeep. Impetus for this change came from the society’s board of directors. Executive director Rita Bartram resigned in January after six years. “It was time for a change,” Bartram said.Board member Claudia Kreamel-meyer said loss of a director, rising utility costs and the burden of fundraising became too much for the all-volunteer board.”We’ve worked hard to create the park, but the management has become a pretty daunting task,” Kreamelmeyer said. “It’s more than we can do.” Administrative responsibilities and financial pressures, she told the council, are preventing the board from performing its essential tasks of education and preservation.
Councilmember Tom Looby voiced concern about the long-term cost of operating the park, and Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen questioned who will have ultimate responsibility for the park’s historical assets. The council generally expressed a strong commitment to maintaining the park.”It’s certainly the showpiece of Frisco for the visitors,” Councilmember Bill Pelham said. “The value of it to the town is immense.” Assistant town manager Theresa Casey said the town is ready to work with the historical society to create a “seamless transition” to municipal operation.”We will operate the park through the end of this year at status quo,” she said. Expenses above the already assigned $51,000 will be covered by the town’s general fund, she added.
The town plans to hire a full-time museum coordinator in addition to the two current part-time museum staff positions, Casey told the council.Sheryl Kutter, who has worked at the park for more than six years, is optimistic about the administrative change. She said she hopes the historical society will now have time to “focus on what’s important: preservation and educating the public about the history of the area.”Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at email@example.com.
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