Mayor’s plan prioritizes development, action on long-awaited city projects
Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney’s aggressive 100-day plan covers a variety of action steps in communication, transportation, development and recreation.
Cheney laid out his plan during his first State of the City luncheon, hosted by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, June 21.
The idea is not to have all of these initiatives completed within 100 days but to at least start the process, Cheney explained during the luncheon.
Cheney’s 100-day plan is broken down into nine planks that are pinpointed on areas such as improving communication, evaluating development standards and moving forward with much anticipated city projects.
“The same as last year will never be good enough for the city of Frisco,” Cheney said. “Every single year we’re going to be redefining what we do departmentwide.”
Cheney said he would like to establish better communication between the city and residents, partners and political officials.
For residents, Cheney said Frisco City Council plans to host more localized, issue-based town hall meetings. If an issue or an idea is related to a specific area in Frisco, City Council will host a mobile town hall meeting near that location to make it more convenient for the residents who live there, Cheney said.
“Coming to city hall can be intimidating for a lot of people,” he said. “And they’re busy in their lives. … If we’re doing a town hall in your neighborhood or at a school, you’re more likely to probably come to that.”
An example of one of these town halls would be asking residents who live near Legacy Drive how they would like the city to redesign that road. The road is under design to be reconstructed between SH 121 and Warren Parkway.
Other action steps for the communication strategy include hosting business roundtables for business owners and regular meetings with Collin and Denton county representatives.
This point focuses on marrying urban developments with commercial space, open space and amenities. Cheney said the city aims to require more open space in commercial developments and commercial space in urban-living developments.
Cheney said he also wants to take advantage of the available amenities in Frisco to turn them into focal points for the city. For instance, city staff is looking at the retention pond near Stonebriar Centre to see if the area could be redesigned to allow shops and restaurants to be incorporated around the pond.
“Basically, it’s a way for us to create almost new land in Frisco because right now it’s essentially nothing,” Cheney said. “If we make that investment to change the configuration of the retention pond, now we have the opportunity to build at least one restaurant on Preston [Road].”
Now that businesses have created an energy in old downtown Frisco, Cheney said the city can step in to continue that energy. He said members of the Frisco Downtown Merchants Association have reached out to him wanting to be a part of the plan to revitalize old downtown.
Plans include a possible pedestrian mall on Fourth Street, which would close off the street to vehicle traffic and allow shops to extend their storefronts to allow for more foot traffic.
Focus on the arts
Those passionate about the arts in Frisco will soon be able to network and discuss ideas at social events throughout the year. The first event will be July 12.
City Council has also established a subcommittee focused on strategizing for a performing arts center. Frisco residents approved a $10 million bond in 2015 to go toward the construction of a performing arts center. Cheney said the city will look to develop a facility as part of a public-private partnership.
Developer Craig Hall has reached out to the city expressing his interest in being a private partner in the project. He said he has a vision to bring a performing arts center to Hall Park.
“The vision is to build something that is good for all the citizens of Frisco and for all the local nonprofit groups that have performing arts that are looking for a place to perform,” Hall said. “… I think it’s something that Frisco needs whether it’s [at Hall Park] or somewhere else.”
Expanding economic development
This plan focuses on the Frisco Economic Development Corp.’s strategic plan.
The strategic plan will identify key business clusters and targets to find ways to better attract businesses, including a Fortune 100 company.
“We’re shifting the focus to really be aggressive about going after the large employers to bring into our city higher-paying jobs, quality jobs,” Cheney said.
Steps to help implement this plan include adding a CEO—namely Careington CEO Barbara Fasola—to the FEDC board of directors.
This plank turns the responsibility on Frisco residents and businesses owners to honor local veterans. Cheney said nearly 2,700 veterans live in Frisco.
Cheney also plans to recognize a veteran twice a year for his or her commitment to serving the city. The Frisco Veterans Advisory Committee will make recommendations to Cheney regarding who to recognize.
Get moving again
Traffic congestion is an area of constant concern for Frisco residents. As part of the 100-day plan, city staff will look at mobility solutions to keep traffic moving. These solutions include road projects and innovative technology.
One of the major road projects that will begin construction this year is Main Street from FM 423 to Dallas Parkway. The median will be narrowed to add a lane to either side of the road.
Some new technological solutions are also being explored to address mobility.
For instance, Traffic Technology Services has partnered with the city to connect the city’s traffic signals with certain Audi vehicles. The program can let drivers know how long they can expect to sit at a traffic light.
Another major concern among residents is increased taxes as a result of rising property values. Council adopted the city’s first homestead exemption in June to provide some relief.
In addition, city departments are looking into becoming Lean Six Sigma certified. Lean Six Sigma is a methodology to increase an organization’s productivity and reduce waste in processes. The Frisco Public Library has already achieved a Lean Six Sigma certification, and the city’s new parks and recreation director Shannon Keleher—who will begin this summer—is also Lean certified.
“Frisco has always run lean, but we will build a new culture throughout every department to look for ways to maximize even more efficiencies,” Cheney said.
The last plank emphasizes how regional parks could help make Frisco a destination city.
Northeast Community Park, which will include the city’s first skate park, is set to open this year. The 164-acre Northwest Community Park is in the planning stages.
Cheney said the city plans to identify a location for another regional park within the next 100 days.
“We will be known as the city with one of the best park systems in the entire country,” he said.
Residents may soon see progress on the “urban legend of Grand Park.” Grand Park is a 275-acre, master-planned park on the west side of the Dallas North Tollway and north of Stonebrook Parkway.
The city has been waiting for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow a lake feature at the park. That permit may soon be open for public comment, one of the final steps before the permit is approved, Cheney said.
“If the lake isn’t approved, then we’ll start exploring alternatives for the property,” he said.
Cheney’s said the goal is to break ground on Grand Park in 2018.