Town Council approves funds for firehouse doors

Lisa Ferguson,
The Prosper Press
At its May 26 meeting, the Prosper Town Council approved funds to purchase new bay doors for the Central Fire Station.

The Prosper Town Council held its regular meeting on May 26, which began with a nod to the Prosper Fire Department for a recent honor it received.

The department won the American Heart Association’s 2020 Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award for its commitment to the outstanding care of cardiac patients.

It is the second time that the department has earned the award, having won the Bronze-level honor in 2019.

After quickly approving four items on the consent agenda, council members tackled the regular agenda, which included approving an item seeking to modify development standards related to courtyard lot regulations in the Windsong Ranch community.

Next, it approved amendments the town’s Thoroughfare Plan.

The amended plan designates a half-dozen additional roadway overpasses on U.S. 380 at Gee Road, Teel Parkway, Legacy Drive, La Cima Boulevard, Coit Road and Custer Road, as well as an additional railroad grade separation at First Street. It also sought to reclassify U.S. 380 as a limited access roadway/freeway.

During the meeting, the council received the March financial report as well as a mid-year budget summary.

Town Finance Director Betty Pamplin said revenue generated by sales tax, court fines, investment income and park fees were expected to be the areas most impacted by the current economic situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prosper Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame briefed the council about “ongoing problems” caused by heavy, aged bay doors at the town’s Central Fire Station.

Since 2018, he said, the doors have been serviced more than 18 times due to malfunctions and other issues. Last month, a door crashed down onto one of the department’s rigs. Luckily, the vehicle was not damaged.

“It’s like being 20 feet in the air and just dropping a 250-pound weight,” Blasingame said, noting potential safety and liability concerns the doors pose for fire department personnel and visitors to the station.

The department previously spent funds attempting to fix the doors.

“We hoped that was going to minimize our service calls, but they just keep coming,” he said.

At the meeting, Town Council members approved an amendment to increase the Fire Services Department expenditure budget by $249,477 to replace the eight existing bay doors.

Once they are ordered and arrive, Blasingame said it may take up to two weeks for the doors to be professionally installed.

Following executive session, the council meeting wrapped up with a pair of departmental reports.

Prosper Parks and Recreation Director Dudley Raymond said the department recommends resuming programs such as youth sports leagues, camps and games as well as adult sports leagues in early July. Also, pavilions and splash pads at area parks remain closed for the time being. Programming for older active adults may resume in August.

Prosper Community Library Director Leslie Scott updated the council about the facility’s ongoing services and reopening plans.

The library closed its doors to the public in March due to the pandemic and immediately began online programming. Enhanced safety protocols were put in place and, in the weeks since, staffers have been returning to work.

In mid-May, the library instituted “to-go”-style service for patrons, who may reserve books and other items online. These may be picked up in the library’s lobby during specified hours. Scott said she and her staff are filling about 200 requests for items per day.

The library also plans to host a virtual summer reading program with accompanying packets available for pick up by patrons or delivery by mail.

“It’s an option if you don’t want to bring your children (or) you don’t want to come to the library, we’ll go ahead and send it to you,” Scott explained.

Once the library reopens to visitors (a date for which has yet to be been determined), it likely will have reduced operating hours and limited capacity.

Furniture will be moved to discourage people from lingering too long, sneeze guards will be installed to help keep staff members safe and some amenities including children’s computers will be unavailable. Social distancing will be enforced.

“We’re not going to encourage people to stay and touch things. We’re going to encourage them check out (items) and head on out,” Scott told the council members.