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Frisco voters have already approved bonds to build the Arts Of Collin County's Performance Hall.
Recently the beleaguered project got a huge shot in the arm when construction bids came in at $16 million less than planned. Donor's have already added $10 million to the public funds promised. And the City of Allen announced they would give the ACC a $5 million loan guarantee so that construction could begin.
But don't break out the shovels yet. From Thursday's Dallas Morning News:
An effort to put Frisco's bonds for the planned Collin County arts hall before voters again could cripple the project if they're turned down, Plano's mayor says.
Some members of the Frisco City Council want residents there to vote again to authorize Frisco's remaining $16.4 million in bonds for the project. They say the original 2002 vote was based on Frisco, Plano, Allen and McKinney teaming up. McKinney later opted out.
"The city gave its word," Frisco council member Pat Fallon said during a council meeting on the subject Tuesday that went late into the night. Fallon and some others on the council want a referendum on the bonds in May or November.
"If they feel this is the will of the people, why not ask them?" Fallon said Wednesday.
The council will meet Monday afternoon to decide whether to put the question on the ballot.
And if Frisco votes against re-authorization, what then?
"The deal dies," said Plano Mayor Phil Dyer, whose city would be left with Allen to figure out how to make up Frisco's share of the construction costs. The two cities would also have to pick up Frisco's portion of the operating costs once the arts hall opens.
Plano couldn't afford that, Dyer said.
As to what Frisco should do, Dyer said it's not his place to say.
Allen Mayor Steve Terrell said this is just the latest of many hurdles that the Arts of Collin County has faced over the years. He doesn't expect the project to be derailed forever if Frisco pulls out.
"We'll just keep going and try to make it happen," he said.
The man in charge of making the 2,100-seat performance hall happen, meanwhile, says he is frustrated by what he calls a misguided effort.
Mike Simpson, executive director for the Arts of Collin County, was there Tuesday as the Frisco City Council debated.
And Simpson, who was Frisco's mayor during the original vote, said the council thought long and hard before deciding to proceed with a three-city project. The matter was settled back then, he said. After seven years of Frisco's involvement, this shouldn't be an issue, Simpson said.
What the council should be debating, he said, is whether this is the time to move forward. Simpson has a construction bid that's brought the total costs for Phase 1 to $68.9 million, down $17 million from earlier estimates.
He's ready to finalize the contribution agreements and set a date for breaking ground in Allen.
"Did they not think I would get the job done?" he asked.
Frisco City Council member Jeff Cheney said Tuesday that he has struggled with the three- vs. four-city issue and what's right.
"Circumstances change," he said. "I'm not afraid to ask the voters."
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said the city prides itself on weighing the facts and getting things done. "There's too much to do here to dwell on this," he said. "A very real and valid dialogue needs to take place about if now is the right time [to build]."
Just because the Allen city council wants to spend their citizens money for an arts hall rather than for tax cuts should not cause Frisco to do the same. Plano is too liberal to back out with too many Democrats on council to change their mind but I don't think that Frisco is.
I hope that Frisco sees the light and saves all of the taxpayers the money.
The Observer comments:
Democrats on Plano's City Council?
I wish you were right, but unfortunately, you're simply goofy.
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