Last Friday evening we celebrated and honored the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. A new non-profit called “Linking Cultures of Frisco” organized the event. It was a spectacular evening befitting the memory of this great leader. We listened to great music and a performer who recreates the “I Have a Dream” speech in the voice of MLK. The showcase of the night were the five FISD seniors who wrote and gave a speech on “Many Cultures, One Dream”. I was honored to be one of the five judges. All of the students were spectacular with their own youthful yet mature takes on this theme. We announced the winners and awarded them scholarships. The donations and sponsorships from the evening paid for their scholarships totaling $13,000. Frisco, you are a generous city who supports our students. And just as important, we had a room full of people with different skin color and coming from many different backgrounds and there was no question we are unified. Thank you, Frisco, it was a proud night for all of us.
Frisco Economic Development Corporation hosts a quarterly luncheon for C-level executives in Frisco. I had the privilege to open the event and welcome everyone. CEO Frank McGuigan of Transplace was the highlighted company. They are headquartered in HALL Park and provide transportation management and logistical solutions. www.transplace.com Frank is a veteran and moved his family to Frisco three years ago and loves his new home here. After Frank spoke, it was a treat to hear Russell Laughlin with Hillwood to talk more about Uber Elevate. When it is available to the public in 2022, we will truly be the Jetsons. It is the flying aircraft that will take you to the airport for around $40-$50. Uber chose two places in the world to initially provide this service, Dubai and Frisco! If you want to see more about Uber Elevate, check this out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuFSh7N0Nhw&t=159s
Tuesday night’s Council meeting was a big one. We voted and approved 6-0 to purchase 390 acres from Brinkmann Ranch. It is at the southwest corner of Preston and Panther Creek Parkway. If you have been to our other big parks like Warren Sports Complex and Bacchus Park, those are roughly 100 acres. This one is going to be two and a half times that size. Approximately 250 acres will be designated to sports fields and park space. The remaining 150 acres will be along Preston and we will wait for the right project to be adjacent to this park. It costs $61M. $34M comes from already approved bond money, $17.7M from Frisco’s Community Development Corporation and the remainder is possibly going to be covered by Frisco EDC. Yes, $61M is a lot of money but we know this land is only going to increase in value. If we were to wait much longer, we couldn’t afford it. Much like Grand Park, if the land wasn’t purchased ten years ago, we couldn’t afford it today. This park space provides all our future park needs at our city’s complete build out. We are planning for future Frisco families and their children. And for all of you who are not fans of multi-family housing, this alleviates zoning for 1100 apartments. Thank you to so many people who worked hard to make this deal happen.
Thursday and Friday is our Winter Work Session. All of our City departments present updates to Council. It is important because it give Council an opportunity to stop and evaluate and even question what we are doing and why we are doing it. We also set the agenda for the coming year by identifying a Top 10 List of critical projects. Naturally, roads, congestion and technology was a big discussion item. Actually, our engineering department just received an award from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America for aggressively using technology to solve our traffic concerns. Congrats, Paul Knippel and team! Winter Work Session is open to the public. Please join us at LaunchPad City.
Thursday evening was the retirement party for Jim Gandy. He has been the Frisco EDC President for 22 years. Jim has been instrumental from the very beginning which was bringing Stonebriar Mall to Frisco and IKEA and all the sports teams and so many companies and special events, including the NCAA FCS Div 1 Championship Game. 20% of all jobs in Frisco are a direct result of Jim’s work at the EDC. Also, for every taxpayer $1 spent by the EDC, we as taxpayers receive $4+ back. Jim Gandy has quite a legacy and not just a financial impact but countless friendships. The room was filled with people coming to honor a man who has meant so much to them. Not many people can work for 22 years and have a room full of community leaders tell them what an impact they made. Thank you, Jim, for coming to Frisco and warm wishes for all your future endeavors.