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Locals Express Concerns over Theme Park

Business

Universal Parks and Resorts plans to open a park in Frisco | Image by TripSavvy

The Universal Parks & Resorts’ proposed theme park in Frisco is raising concerns from residents. 

The decision was met with excitement and apprehension, as the city hosted a town hall-style meeting to address potential issues, according to Community Impact.

Traffic and infrastructure concerns were a key concern expressed by residents of Cobb Hill, a neighborhood that borders the land.

Frisco Transportation Planning Manager Joel Fitts unveiled a timeline for updates to transportation projects underway in the area. He also referenced studies about increased potential traffic, stating that the patterns of inbound traffic to the theme park would not align with existing traffic patterns in the area. Nonetheless, he was cautiously optimistic about the impact of traffic.

“You’re not going to have the peak traffic of people arriving at the park coinciding with the peak traffic of everybody going to work or going to school in the morning,” Fitts said.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Universal recently bought 97 acres on the east side of the Dallas North Tollway near Panther Creek Parkway for the construction of the park. The property is located in the $10 billion Fields development, which will have mixed-use districts with offices, shops, restaurants, hotels, and apartments.

The theme park’s developers have taken steps to minimize the impact of an increase in traffic by using 30 of the 97-acre property for the park and hotel, leaving more than 60 acres for parking, entrance and exit corridors, and future expansions.

“We’re very committed everywhere we go to being a really good neighbor,” said Page Thompson, president of new ventures for Universal Parks & Resorts.

Residents also expressed concern about noise and height restrictions for rides or structures on the property.  Universal Parks & Resorts said they intend to create an “inward-thinking” park experience to minimize noise leaving the park.

“We’re going to work very hard to contain that sound within each of those themed lands. We don’t want the sound to escape even from the land, let alone from the park,” Thompson said. 

The park’s hours would also cater to its target audience. The proposed hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. 

Some Frisco residents feared that a theme park nearby may hurt their home values. Universal Parks & Resorts’ Senior Vice President of External Affairs John McReynolds noted that neighborhoods close to the company’s other theme parks usually experience increased property values. 

Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney also explained that many of the issues residents expressed were the same concerns the city council had before green-lighting the project.

“All the questions you’re asking are the same immediate reactions that the city council had when this idea was proposed to us,” Cheney said. 

The developer of the Fields project, CEO Fehmi Karahan of Karahan Companies, affirmed that the theme park is a lower intensity use for the property compared to a more dense mixed-use development.

“I felt that it was a perfect match for what we were planning,” Karahan said. “When they explained what they were going to do, we got more excited. I’m thrilled that we were chosen, Frisco was chosen for this great development.” 

Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney expressed a similar sentiment.

“The traffic impact of high rise, office, mixed-use, hotel — all the uses that were planned for this site — would have probably been thousands more cars a day.”

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