Is Frisco Art-phobic?

Recently there has been a new debate in the City of Frisco. The question is should Frisco voters be given the opportunity to overturn a vote (some may use the word reconsider) made in 2002 that approved Frisco’s involvement with the Arts of Collin County roject (a joint-initiative between Frisco, Plano and Allen) through a bond issue. Frisco voters approved the performing arts center by 67.58%. The vote by Allen and McKinney took place two months later, and Allen approved their performing arts center contribution by 52.45%, and McKinney voters rejected their contribution by 52.88%(short by 73 votes). It is interesting to note that within the City of McKinney there has been a push to put this issue back on the ballot for voters to reconsider the bond question.

One of the points that has been raised by new Frisco-ites (as this appears to be where it it mainly coming from), is that since McKinney did not join the four-cities, that Frisco should never have continued the city’s involvement. Former Mayor, Mike Simpson recently addressed this in an email (copied below in part) that he sent out to Frisco Art Center supporters.

At the last Council meeting there was a lot of talk about what happened in 2002 when the vote was taken to approve the bonds. Also, about 12 months later when it was discussed at three different Council meetings in October and November 2003 before the council decided to move forward with the project.

Here are the facts:

  • September Election-2002 Total Vote- 2,403 total Votes 1,624 (67% in favor) –Refer to City Ordinance 02-09-106
  • About one year later, when the council had to start deciding to move ahead with the agreements with the other cities, there were three (3) council meetings held where public input was taken. The facts are:
    • Council Meeting-Oct, 21, 2003 A total of 11 citizens spoke-7 spoke in favor of moving ahead. 1 other was in favor and asked to find a way to make it work.
    • Council Meeting-Nov. 4, 2003 A total of 3 citizens spoke- 2 spoke in favor.
    • Council Meeting-Nov. 18, 2003 A total of 2 spoke-1 for and 1 against. At this meeting the council voted to move ahead with the project and not revote.
  • At three different council meetings-a total of 16 speakers (some the same each meeting) spoke and 10 were in favor.
  • If this item was so contentious among the voters as has been expressed by certain council members, why did only 16 speak out of the 2,403 who went to the polls and voted on the bond?

Again, ask your City Council to not revote this item, but to make a business decision on whether or not to move ahead on this item and determine when they might sell the bonds to build the arts hall.

E.Michael Simpson
Executive Director
Arts of Collin County

Being around during this time, what Mike is saying is pretty accurate. There was discussion about not continuing to be involved with the ACC project, however it was decided that it was too important not to be a part of this, and the City Council moved forward with our ongoing involvement. It is true that the wording of the ballot on the proposition stated one thing, however it could be argued that the City Council has the authority to act in the best interests of the city as a whole. It is important to note that on that same bond election ballot, voters approved funding a new city hall (Proposition 4) and a new library (Proposition 6), however it was a council decision to merge these two “free standing buildings” into one “grand” building. Oddly enough, voters didn’t seem to want to reconsider these two bond propositions because things changed, just like the voters – at the time – didn’t want to reconsider the ACC project.

So the question has become do we reconsider a vote that was made nearly 8 years ago, lose the significant amount of money we as a city have already put into this project, lose the credibility that we as a city have within the state and the country, as well as the opportunity of being part of something incredible for this region; OR do we move forward (think Progress In Motion), embrace a decision that will balance the sport-centric focus that Frisco has taken on recently, and continue to breathe life into a project that THREE visionary cities embraced in 2002?

For me the decision is easy … but I was around when we discussed it the first time.

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