Van Gundy seeks to up community involvement in Frisco
summit daily news
FRISCO – After four years on Frisco’s town council, Woody Van Gundy seeks another term “to continue to steward the work we’ve accomplished.” He’s one of three candidates registered for three open council spots, so the Town of Frisco recently canceled its April election in favor of appointments.
“Lots of people thought the Town didn’t always listen to both sides of the issues,” Van Gundy said of attitudes about council in years past. “Over the past four years, we’ve developed a process to give everyone a seat at the table and hear what they have to say. We’re refining the process of listening and using the community to develop goals and projects.”
Van Gundy used the development of the Peak One Parcel affordable housing project, the Peninsula Recreation Area, the marina master plan and redevelopment of Main Street as examples of the town working with the community to create new visions for Frisco.
Creating ad hoc committees have also been used to collect local input and assist residents and business owners with issues they struggle with, he said. Van Gundy used the town loosening up on sign permits as an example of using ad hoc committee information to aid local business.
“Upcoming projects are the result of lots of community input,” Van Gundy said. “I want people to feel that we’re listening to what they say.”
In terms of relating to other council members, the community and town staff, Van Gundy takes his role seriously.
“The town staff takes their lead from council,” he said. “Basically it’s up to the council to decide which direction we’re going in, and the town staff assists us in achieving that goal.”
He also said the Frisco Town Council is made up of a “really good group.”
“We have good representation that represents lots of facets of Frisco,” he said. “No one brings a personal agenda and issues to the council. We work together well, and we respect and appreciate everyone’s opinions.”
Van Gundy added that he believes he has a responsibility to listen to what the public has to say, and garner their input. And being an owner of restaurant and brewery means he gets a chance to hear what lots of people think.
He also said he has the time and flexibility it takes to be a truly engaged council member – “The first four years are a good indicator of my involvement,” he said.
Over the years, Van Gundy has served on several town committees, including recreation, the Summit Combined Housing Authority and Frisco’s business ad hoc committee.
According to Van Gundy, there’s only one issue for the Town of Frisco, and all other issues are tied into it – the economy.
“We’re figuring out some ways to help Summit Boulevard and Main Street thrive,” he said. “There’s lots of vacant storefronts. It’s a difficult time for lots of people. We’ll help out by continuing what we’re doing with affordable housing to attract families and year-round residents. If we have more people here, they tend to spend money in the community that they live in. Development of attractions like the Peninsula Recreation Project bring people to town and give them a reason to stay here on a more regular basis. Reinvestment back into the community and projects help us out during the economic recovery.”
Van Gundy said he believes the town’s real-estate transfer tax will bounce back within the next couple years – whether it gets back to 2006-8 levels remains to be seen.
“There have been some signs of recovery over the past six months,” he said. “I think we just have to wait and see what evolves over the next couple years before we come up with ideas for what we have to do.”
Van Gundy has lived in Frisco since 1977. He said he took the winter off to ski, and ended up staying. He met his wife, Melinda, in the county, and they have two children – Ryan (27) and Erin (26). Ryan lives in Summit County and Erin lives in Denver.
When he’s not participating in council activities or working at his restaurant – the Backcountry Brewery, Van Gundy camps, bikes, golfs, Nordic skis and plays in a blues band called The Big Onions.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at email@example.com.
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