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Frisco rolling the retail dice

Editorial

Home Depot appears to have the inside track with its proposal to develop Frisco’s publicly owned 9.4 acres behind Safeway and the Summit Stage’s Frisco Transfer Center.

Inclusion of employee housing and a slew of other community benefits in the proposal is a huge plus.

Much more remains to be seen from Home Depot, Lowe’s, Alberta Development, Wal-Mart and the BigHorn Center on exactly what they would do.

But who really has the inside track? It’s Frisco’s voters.

The town will present a final development proposal for a vote, and if nothing else, voters will have a clear choice between a specified retail development associated with some other goodies, and nothing happening at all.

Frisco town government has lined up a lot of what-ifs that could rise or fall on this vote.

First of all, the town is eyeing what Home Depot says could be $1 million a year in new sales tax revenues. That money could fund what the town says are the expected civic services as well as new toys at the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area.

Or not.

Secondly, the town needs to sell the 9.4 acres for development so it can pick up the $5 million or so it needs to buy land to flip over to Colorado Mountain College for its proposed consolidated campus in Frisco.

Or not.

To tie it all together, a vote for development on the 9.4 acres gains the town new sales taxes. It gets the town the money it needs to create “free” land so CMC can build a new centrally located campus.

The scenario allows the town to solidify itself financially while creating beehives of activity and associated economic vitality around a new big box and a new college campus.

Or not.

So far, the most vocal citizens appear happy with the 9.4 acres never hosting a big box, and if anything, becoming home to the new CMC campus.

And one of the ironies of the debate is, the bigger the box, the higher the potential sales tax revenues ” and the louder the battle cries from opponents come election season.

So will the town council roll the dice and throw a big money-maker before the citizens? Or will it set its sights lower and pick a project less lucrative but more politically salable?

The high-stakes game continues.


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