Frisco Considers Center for Day Laborers

By Susy Solis
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 7:02 PM CDT
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Day Labor Center Coming to Frisco?

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Business owners say day laborers waiting for work outside their stores drive customers away.

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Day Labor Center Coming to Frisco?

The city of Frisco may be the next North Texas city to deal with the issue of day laborers by creating a day labor center.
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Some business owners in Frisco are pushing for a a day labor center, saying the laborers chase away potential customers.

The Depot Cafe has become more of a depot for day laborers. They have been a mainstay at the Main Street restaurant and at a gas station next door, but the economic downturn has turned their presence into a problem, the cafe's owner said.

"In the past two or three years, the laborers would come out, but the contractors would come and pick them up, and they'd be gone by 8 o'clock in the morning,"said Dennis Francis, owner of the Depot Cafe. "But now there's no construction, so they are here all day long."

Francis said business has decreased about 50 percent. Main Street is the heart of downtown Frisco, where locally owned shops line the street.

"The guy that owns the buildings across the street is saying he's having a hard time getting tenants because of the problem," Francis said. "Nobody wants to lease his buildings because of the day laborers standing on the sidewalks."

Francis said the day laborers stay off his property, but they line the sidewalks on the perimeter of his business -- something police say is perfectly legal.

"You can't just go and tell somebody they can't stand on the street," said George Purefoy, Frisco's city manager. "I mean, they have as much right to stand there as anyone else."

Business owners have gotten together to ask the city to create a day labor center. But the city is treading lightly, because immigration issues are a delicate subject.

"We have looked at what other cities have done," Purefoy said. "It goes all the way from doing nothing to building a center that is staffed. And one of the issues is almost, the more resources you put into it, the more structured it becomes, and you run the risk of people splintering off from that and still standing around on the streets."

Nearby churches who are a part of the Ministerial Alliance of Frisco have also agreed to help.

"It's possible that there may be some of the churches that are in the downtown area that might be willing to allow their property to be used," Purefoy said.

The city, along with several private business owners and representatives from the Ministerial Alliance, will address the issue at a Community Development Corporation meeting.

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