Archive for the 'Around Town' Category

Much happening at the Dr. Pepper Star Center

With less than 2 weeks under our belt with the expanded facility, the Dr Pepper Star Center is already buzzing with activity.  We were exciting to hit our deadline for the renovations so that Frisco could hold their graduations locally, rather than going to Garland.

The new seating capacity also opens the facility up to many new performance. Thursday night saw an extreme cage match.  Bill Cosby is performing this evening.  The Harlem Globetrotters are performing on Saturday.  To cap the weekend is a family fun day that will include Barney,

Other exciting things happening around Frisco include Frisco Grooves, Frisco Starfest, Moves in the Square, and more!

Kudos to Valeria Wigglesworth for finding these comments  by Bill Cosby on the Letterman show about Frisco:

http://friscoblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/06/bill-cosbys-take-on-frisco.html

Tourism Week in Frisco

This morning I had a great time working as a greater at the Stonebriar Westin to help promote tourism in Frisco.  Did you know:  Each U.S. household would pay $988 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry!

 State & DFW Travel Facts

  • The D/FW area is the #1 tourist destination in Texas
  • The D/FW area through tourism contributed over $1 billion in local & state taxes
  • Total direct travel spending in Texas was $56.7 billion
  • Tourism supports over 534,000 jobs in Texas
  • Business Travel spending in Texas is $21.7 million, which is 2nd highest share in U.S.
  • Meetings & Events Travel spending in Texas is $9.3 million, which is 2nd highest in U.S.

Here are a few websites to check out: MeetingsMeanBusiness.com   /   DFWandBeyond.com

Here are a few links about my experience:

http://friscoblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/05/westin-stonebriar-resorts-name.html

http://friscoblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/05/did-you-know-that-this.html

Museum of the American Railroad and City of Frisco Finalize Move

MAY 5, 2009 – Today Museum of the American Railroad officials signed, and the Frisco City Council approved, a formal agreement that finalizes plans to move the Fair Park collection of trains to a new site in Frisco. The City Council passed by unanimous vote the Development Agreement and Lease that enables the museum to move from the planning stage to Phase I design and construction. The Museum of the American Railroad joins an exciting array of attractions in this North Texas city including the Frisco Heritage Center and Museum. It will also be adjacent to a system of planned outdoor spaces and recreational areas to be known as Grand Park.

Last year, the Museum of the American Railroad entered into an agreement with the City of Frisco that initiated serious discussions between the two organizations. The two quickly arrived at terms that were mutually beneficial and an engineering firm was hired to prepare a conceptual engineering site plan. The plan, prepared by Lunsford Associates of Arlington with Wilson & Company of Fort Worth, calls for nearly a mile of trackage and future exhibit buildings totaling 94,000 square feet.

The museum’s priceless collection will also be covered by a train shed reminiscent of turn-of-thecentury stations. With the Council’s adoption of the formal agreements, the railroad museum will now finalize its site plan and prepare engineering specifications for Phase I construction. Phase I calls for some 5,000 feet of track to be laid at the museum’s new Frisco location, including 3,000 feet of exhibit track that will accommodate the current 36-piece rolling stock collection. The museum’s two landmark structures will also move to Frisco and compliment the historic locomotives and railway passenger cars.

The City of Frisco will provide 12.34 acres of land for the project. Located on Cotton Gin Road, the new site is adjacent to the Frisco Heritage Center and borders the BNSF Railway line to the east. The museum currently resides on a 1.8 acre footprint in Fair Park and stores one quarter of its collection offsite.

A majority of Phase I funding will come from Frisco to construct the basic facilities necessary to relocate the museum from Fair Park. The museum will raise their portion of the funding privately.

Upon completion of Phase I, the museum will open for business at the new site. “We are very excited to get to this point; it’s been mostly planning until now. We’re getting close to turning some dirt and watching the wheels roll. The area railroads have pledged their support and we should be moving equipment in early 2011,” said Bob LaPrelle, MAR’s President & CEO.

The museum will continue operations at its present Fair Park location until the rolling stock begins moving to Frisco. Educational programs for Dallas area schools will also continue through late 2010. While the collection will be relocating to Frisco, the move is viewed by museum officials as an operation becoming more regional rather than one leaving the Dallas market.

With nearly half a mile of locomotives and cars weighing almost 3,600 tons, the move of the museum’s historic rolling stock collection will be an event in and of itself. The museum has fielded calls from as far away as New Zealand since the announcement of the move last year. The museum’s Big Boy steam locomotive, the largest ever constructed, will attract interest from all over the world when it begins to roll to its new home.

The museum has worked closely with Frisco city officials to finalize plans and create an attraction that embraces the city’s rich railroad heritage. Frisco derives its name from the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company which established a water stop there following construction in 1902.

Initially satisfying a thirst for steam locomotives, the area was later subdivided and plots were sold by the railroad. A few years later the town of Frisco was officially incorporated and has grown in population to just over 100,000 today. While the museum will endeavor to tell the story of railroads on a local level, its collection is national in scope. In 2006 the museum, with the aid of M. Goodwin Associates of Los Angeles, created a Strategic Plan that identified its strengths and addressed limitations at its present site. The Plan acknowledged the significance of the collection as one with great potential that tells the story of the American Railroad on a national level.

The new facilities in Frisco will allow for expanded programming and house the collection in a setting that is befitting of its heritage. Future buildings will present the trains in the context of a large, urban train station while featuring all the amenities of a museum. Visitors will climb aboard trains that once arrived and departed stations at nearly every major city in the nation.

Museum officials have chosen a style of architecture for its new main building that compliments neighboring structures in Frisco Square. A Neoclassical style is represented in the museum’s proposed building that borrows elements from the great train stations of the past. To be constructed as part of a Phase II capital project, the facility will feature a grand hall and concourse that will serve as a museum facility by day and a venue for community activities after hours. “We envision this building being a center for local activities and events – a place that is at the heart of a community just as train stations were in their day,” said LaPrelle.

The new museum will also serve as an anchor arts & cultural institution in Frisco. The facility will provide educational programming for Frisco ISD and surrounding school districts through interactive tours and in-class programs. The museum’s grand hall will also act as a venue for the visual & performing arts.

Over the past year the museum has consulted with Freeman Ryan Design, an Australian company, to develop spatial requirements and visitor flow patterns for the new main building and train shed. Specializing in creating museums around large objects, the Sydney-based company has addressed thearchitectural considerations associated with housing and presenting the museum’s extensive rolling stock collection.

Using the latest technologies, the museum will entertain and educate visitors and students with exhibits on the cultural history and technology of railroading. Programs will also explore the role of the railroad as a solution to the nation’s transportation challenges. Where railroad museums have typically been viewed as looking back, the new Frisco museum will also look forward and showcase what the rail industry has to offer now and in the future.

The City of Frisco has generously provided the railroad museum with offices and 800 square feet of exhibit space in the new Frisco Heritage Museum. Located at 6455 Page Street, visitors can enjoy exhibits on Frisco history, including the arrival of the railroad in 1902. With offices and programming already established in Frisco, the railroad museum is on its way toward building a brand and engaging in fund raising and development.

With today’s vote, the City of Frisco and the Museum of the American Railroad have solidified a partnership and created much excitement toward establishing the premiere museum of railroad history and technology in the Southwest. The Museum of the American Railroad would like to extend its most sincere gratitude to the City of Frisco and its citizens. Their generous contributions and endorsement of our museum will ensure its future role as a cultural history center and educational resource in North Texas.

For more information about the museum and its move to Frisco go to http://www.dallasrailwaymuseum.com

Frisco Chamber Board Names Tony Felker President/CEO

Below is a press release sent out by the Frisco Chamber naming former Council Member Tony Felker as the new President. Since I have had the pleasure of working with Tony on City Council, I know he will do an excellent job. Congrats Tony!

 

FRISCO, TEXAS, Jan. 19, 2009 – Following discussion and action at their Board Meeting held on Friday, January 16, the Frisco Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced that Tony Felker has been named President/CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, effective immediately.   “We are pleased, proud, and honored to have the opportunity to have Tony as our new President,” said Steve Watten, Chairman of the Board.

 
 

“Tony brings a familiarity with the Frisco Chamber and community that is unique, and he has a vested interest in the Chamber, both personally and professionally,” Watten added. 

 
 

Felker has been employed at the Frisco Chamber of Commerce for the last four and a half years, most recently serving as Vice-President of Business Development.  He also served as Interim-President for six months during a transition in management at the end of 2006.   In addition to his employment at the Chamber, Felker is currently serving as Mayor Pro Tem on the Frisco City Council.  His position on Council will terminate in May as he is finishing his second consecutive term and is term-limited.

 
 

“I am extremely proud and honored to be taking over as President of the Frisco Chamber”, said Felker.  “I am anxious to continue to help make Frisco a vibrant place to do business, and I am eager to help our business members succeed.  During my time in Frisco, I have been proud to promote and help our community be all that it is.  I am eager to continue to make Frisco and the surrounding area a locale where all businesses, large and small, can succeed and where they have a strong partner in doing so.”

 
 

Since arriving at the Chamber, Felker has worked on membership, governmental affairs, and businesses retention and attraction, as well as directly overseeing and managing additional departments including finance, building, human resources, and sales.   “Tony has been actively managing areas of the Frisco Chamber for three years and has a working knowledge of its operations and personnel,” said Watten.

 
 

In July, Felker is anticipated to complete his fourth and final year at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management in Los Angeles, California.  Held at five universities across the country, most participants attend the one-week sessions at the same site each year, building valuable relationships with others in the industry and creating a network of idea sharing.  Graduates of Institute receive their IOM recognition, signifying completion of 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management and earn points toward the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) certification.

 
 

A resident of Frisco since 1997, Felker has been actively involved in numerous community organizations in addition to his roles at the Chamber and on Council, including the Rotary, Leadership Frisco, the Frisco Heritage Association, and the Police and Fire Citizens’ Academy classes.   During his eleven years in Frisco, Felker has also owned/operated his own business in town and conducted sales for several organizations prior to his employment with the Frisco Chamber of Commerce in 2004.

 
 

Felker assumes the role of President/CEO following the recent resignation of past President John Land who is leaving the Chamber to assume the role of Executive Director of Economic Development and Tourism in Farmers Branch. 

Anything but the election…

Frisco just finished one of our most important elections in a long time.  However, there has been much more happening around Frisco than just the election.

This evening is one of my favorite events of the year, the Frisco Education Foundation Scholarship night.  I am proud to have served on this Board for the last 3 years.  This year we will be giving out the most scholarship money we have ever contributed.

A few weeks ago we had tens of thousands of people visit Frisco to attend the Jimmy Buffet and Edgefest concerts.  My wife and I attended the Jimmy Buffet concert and we had a great time.  Pizza Hut Park employees worked around the clock after the Jimmy Buffet concert to be ready for the Edgefest concert the following morning.

These 2 events were 2 of the highest grossing events in the country for the month of April.  Here you can see the top 10 events (our 2 events ranked #1 and #8!):

 

A few weeks ago, the Frisco Dark Park hosted the first annual Rover Rally.  I was honored to be one of the dog judges for the show.  The turnout was very impressive and everyone seemed to have a great time with their dogs.  My favorites were the winners of the cutest dog and the tail wagging contest.  To learn more about this group visit www.friscodogpark.org.

First Annual Rover Rally

 

On May 3rd we celebrated the opening of the Heritage Center.  This new museum is located east of City Hall and next to the upcoming Babe’s Restaurant.  Thanks to staff and the Heritage Association for all of their hard work on this project as they were working late nights to have it ready for the opening.  Please stop by to learn more about Frisco’s past.  It is a great educational opportunity for the kids as well.

Frisco Heritage Association

Speaking of Babe’s Restaurant, we received a sneak preview of what is going to be a destination restaurant in Frisco.  Several years ago, George Purefoy had bet the Mayor that he would eat a meal in Babe’s before his term was up.  Well there have certainly been delays in the construction and it is not scheduled to open for a few months.  However, George made good on the bet as we hosted a party for the Mayor a few weeks ago at the restaurant and Babe’s catered the food from another location.  I had never eaten at Babe’s before but now I see why so many people are excited about their opening.

Frisco hosted our Relay for Life Event in April.  I was honored to be co-chair of the event along with Maher Maso.  The attendance was phenomenal and the funs raised were in excess of $150,000.  Our Frisco-Online.com team took home the first place award for the most funds raised again this year.  Maher is already talking of stealing that title from us next year.  Sounds like a challenge to me!

Mayor Simpson also hosted the First Annual DFW Mayor’s Conference. This is one of Mike’s projects that he wanted to accomplish before his term expired.  Mayor’s and Council Members from across the metroplex came to Frisco to share ideas and best practices.  Everyone was very complimentary of Mayor Simpson and Frisco staff for hosting a well-organized event.  We are all hopeful the event continues and other cities take turns hosting it each year.

Summer is wuickly upon us and Frisco will be hosting many Family events for you to enjoy.  I hope to see many of you around Frisco this summer!

Election Results are in!

Congratulations to our next Mayor of Frisco, Maher Maso, and our new “rookie” Council Member Scott Johnson.  David Prince and myself are glad to finally lose the “rookie” title.  In Place 5, there will be a runoff election between Bart Crowder and Tim Nelson, two highly qualified candidates.  Whoever wins this race will be another strong addition to the Council.  We are all excited about our new “team” and look forward to continuing the high level of excellence that Frisco is known for.

In other races, Richard Beaver and Brenda Polk were both re-elected to School Board.  The relationship the City of Frisco has with their school board is the envy of the state.  In addition, 57% of the voters voted against the late night referendum which overturns the vote of the Council from last year.

The Finals results were:

Mayor Race:  Maher Maso 77%, Matt Lafata 23%

Council Place 5:  Bart Crowder 47%, Tim Nelson 38%, John Newsome 10%, Antonio Leuvano 5%.  This will result in a runoff election on June 14 between Mr. Crowder and Mr. Nelson.

Council Place 6: Scott Johnson 65%, Jim Tupper 23%, Buddy Clark 7%, LaDella Levy 5%

Referendum #1 (Late Night Ordinance): For 43%, Against 57%

 

Week in Review (Ending 12/16/2007)

It seems everyone is getting geared up for the holidays.  After a week of Holiday parties, we were focusing on getting our shopping done.  I am proud to say we got done early this year and the first time in a long time, will not be closing down the mall on Christmas Eve. This week we joined in our community for a few more holiday parties including FC Dallas, Collin County Association of Realtors, and my personal favorite, the Boys and Girls Club.  The young man with the Michael Jackson impersonation had the audience on the floor!  We also realized that we need to find a way to get the Boys and Girls Club a new intercom system.  It was such a blessing to be invited and see so many smiling faces.

West Frisco residents will be pleased to know we had the official grand opening of the Frisco Post Office at Main & Teel.  The Mayor has been working on this for several years so I know he took great pleasure in seeing the doors open.  It was ironic that the stamp machine malfunctioned when he was trying to use it.  Also, the Frisco Thunder hosted a kick-off party for sponsors.  Jake and Vinita Reed are such wonderful people and Dana and I are fortunate to have such a sponsorship party with Frisco-OnLine.com.  We went to every game last year and are looking to the season starting this year.  If you have never been, you need to make a point to get tickets.  It is a great time!

Our meeting schedule was light.  However, I did attend my first Mayor’s Youth Council.  Currently, the Mayor and Council Member Jim Joyner run this Council.  Their purpose is to get a teen perspective on issues effecting Frisco and there were a few dozen teens in attendance.  Since the Mayor and Dr. Joyner are in their final years, I will be attending the rest of the meetings this year and then leading the efforts to carry the program forward.

We also had a joint meeting with the Conventions and Visitors Bureau.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss marketing strategies for Frisco.  We will be doubling our hotel capacity over the next 12 months so we will be proactive in attracting people to Frisco to fill these rooms.

 Our next Council meeting is December 18th.