Frisco residents, city officials and Universal Parks representatives gathered in a Collin College conference room Feb. 4 to ask and answer questions about Universal Kids Frisco. The meet and greet came more than three weeks after the city first announced Jan. 11 that, if approved by the city, the 30-acre theme park would be coming to Frisco at Frisco Fields along the Dallas North Tollway.
Unlike a community forum, which was held after the original announcement to answer immediate questions, the meet and greet was separated into four small groups in each corner of the conference room where attendees could walk up and ask their questions.
Representatives from city council, Universal attorneys and civil engineers from Kimley-Horn, a design firm hired to conduct a traffic impact analysis the theme park would have on the city were all present.
Many of the concerns from attendees were centered around the traffic the theme park could bring.
John McReynolds, Universal Parks and Resorts’ senior vice president of external affairs, gave a short presentation explaining how the park would likely impact traffic once it was built.
A majority of the traffic would be from the usual morning commutes of residents, McReynolds said in the presentation.
“The traffic is actually counter-cyclical to the community traffic,” McReynolds said in the presentation.
Since the park is also directed toward young children, the anticipated rush hour of park-goers would not be until after the earlier rush of residents coming and going from work or school, McReynolds said in the presentation.
For Frisco resident Brad Griffith, the biggest problem is what the park could mean for his neighborhood.
Griffith lives in the Cobb Hill neighborhood directly across the street from where the theme park would be. The proposed parking lot layout for the park has an entrance within walking distance from the neighborhoods.
While Griffith stated he is not against the park being built, he is worried people will try to use the nearby streets for free parking and access to the park.
“I don't want our neighborhood becoming the next parking lot for the guy who wants to save $30,” Griffith said.
Universal staff announced at the first town hall meeting they plan to work with local homeowners associations to address specific concerns. Griffith’s neighborhood has a meeting scheduled with Universal to talk more later this week, Griffith said.
Safety was another concern addressed by McReynolds in his presentation, stating the park has a "zero tolerance policy" and would be working closely with police and security to ensure the safety of guests and the surrounding residents.
Attendees Kenneth and Tysha Solomon walked into the meet and greet already on board with the park and everything it would bring.
“We've been excited about it since they announced it,” Tysha Solomon said.
The Solomons have three teenage children, and while they are older than the target demographic of the park, their youngest son is on the autism spectrum and could have unique opportunities through the incoming park.
“We were talking to [McReynolds] with Universal earlier about possible job opportunities and if they employ kids with special needs, and they do,” Kenneth said.
Plans for the theme park will be voted on at a Feb. 7 meeting with the Frisco planning and zoning commission and city council. If approved, construction is estimated to start in 2023 and finish in 2026, said Universal staff.
“I know that we can do this right,” McReynolds told attendees.
More information on the park’s proposal and traffic analyses can be found on the city’s website.