By Mayor Ray Smith
There is nothing more precious to us than our young people, especially of course, our own children or grandchildren. In fact, whether they’re our biological children, our adoptive children, foster children, nieces, nephews, or kids from the neighborhood, we look at each and every one them as our hope for a better and brighter future. We care for them and take care of them. We fret over them and worry that we’re not doing enough for them. We look at them and often see a better version of ourselves. And, we look forward with a mixture of excitement and a little sadness to the day when they grow up and leave. But while they’re with us, every Prosper child is our responsibility.
I bring that up because August is Back to School month. Our kids will be walking, biking, being driven or riding the bus to school starting at the end of this month, and we must be extra vigilant about driving through school zones. As you know, schools have different start and end times based on their grade level, so the school zone hours for an elementary school are different than those for a middle school, and those are different from the high school’s hours. It’s always best not to depend on your memory but rather to look for the flashing lights and school zone signs at each location and adjust your speed accordingly.
In addition to maintaining the proper speed, drivers are prohibited from using any kind of device while driving through school zones, unless used in the hands-free mode. Even so, carrying on a conversation through the car’s speakers is still distracting. Every driver navigating a school zone should be completely attentive to their surroundings, looking for kids who may thoughtlessly cross the street unexpectedly, whether walking, running or on a bike. Our Police Officers are the friendliest and most pleasant peace officers you will ever meet, but they are under a no-tolerance policy when it comes to school zone violations. Please be aware of your speed going through school zones and avoid any distractions.
While on this topic, please remember that the same care should be exercised in our parks’ parking lots and driveways. Kids will be playing and practicing sports after school hours and might be too excited to stop themselves from darting out from behind parked cars. Also, the school district’s new football stadium is nearing completion, and events there will attract lots of students and parents, often in the evening hours. Drivers should pay the same attention to pedestrians during games and other events as they do in school zones during school days. Again, our Police Department, in conjunction with the Prosper ISD Police Department, will be very visible.
And speaking of our fine Police force, construction of the Public Safety Building that will serve as the home of our Police Department is underway. The preparatory work on the site is in its early stages, and work on Safety Way, the road connecting Cook Lane with the Dallas North Tollway, is moving forward as well. When completed, the 23,000 square foot Public Safety Building will house the Police Department, Dispatch and a Community Room. It’s scheduled for completion in late 2020. The staff is planning a ground-breaking for the site in the near future, and I hope we get a large turnout for it. Public safety has always been a high priority for the Council, but remember, it’s also everyone’s responsibility.