FRISCO, Texas — A Universal Studios theme park and the city of Frisco might just be a perfect fit.
But the deal isn’t quite finalized and residents have expressed some concerns.
Mayor Jeff Cheney joined us on Inside Texas Politics this week and told us that planning and zoning still needs to take place as well as final City Council approval, which is scheduled for Feb. 2.
“We’re still getting citizen input right now, a lot of town halls and meeting people out in Frisco, just explaining what the vision for this project is so they can get a good grasp of it,” Mayor Cheney said.
The planned park would be located on 97 acres near the Dallas North Tollway and Panther Creek Parkway and would be about a quarter of the size of Universal’s main theme parks in Florida and California.
Mayor Cheney says the city of Frisco has been approached many times in the past about building a theme park in their community. He estimates a dozen or so offers over the last 15 years, but none felt like the right fit.
But he says Universal Studios is a known brand and the project they’re bringing to town is said to be an entirely new concept.
The mayor stresses it will not be another Six Flags or Orlando-type theme park.
“That is not what this project is. This is going to be a first-of-its-kind, catered towards kids under 12 years old, much smaller in scope and scale,” Cheney said on Inside Texas Politics. “And it’s more of a regional destination that, first and foremost, will be great for the families here in Frisco to create lasting memories.”
The Mayor says tax breaks are still being negotiated, but the predominate incentives will be centered around roads and infrastructure to help support the growth of that area of Frisco.
City Council members didn’t sign off on the project right away to provide a nearly month-long “buffer” period for residents to express any concerns.
And the issue of traffic has come up.
Mayor Cheney says because of the proposed way the theme park will operate, its hours for instance, their studies tell them it would be one of the lowest traffic generators during this entire stretch of the Dallas North Tollway, lower even than H-E-B, Costco and Stonebriar Mall.
And he says a first-of-its-kind open space ordinance passed in 2017 will help traffic as well.
“Everything coming out of the ground now, 10% has to be park space. And their vision for this is to put the park back in park. It takes traffic load off our future system and, quite frankly, it takes it off peak time because it won’t be rush hour traffic,” said the Mayor.