Town Council honors Watkins, approves pipeline project

Kate Pezzulli,
The Prosper Press
At the July 28 Town Council meeting, Prosper Mayor Ray Smith, third from right, reads a proclamation honoring Prosper ISD Superintendent Dr. Drew Watkins, center, for his years of service. In attendance at the meeting were, from left, Craig Andres, Jeff Hodges, Curry Vogelsang, Jr., Marcus E. Ray, Watkins, Smith, Meigs Miller and Jason Dixon.

The July 28 Prosper Town Council meeting began with the presentation of a proclamation given to outgoing Prosper ISD Superintendent Dr. Drew Watkins.

Watkins recently announced his retirement from the district. The ceremony and proclamation were presented in honor of his service to the town.

Prosper Mayor Ray Smith had these words to say:

“Dr. Drew Watkins has served as superintendent for Prosper Independent School District with passion and dedication for the past 18 years, and whereas each morning Dr. Watson could be found opening car doors and greeting each student with a smile and words of encouragement to start their day.

“Dr. Watkins never hesitated to jump on a playground to play with a group of students … [and] is a selfless leader, who took time to write personal notes on teacher’s classroom boards to kickoff each new school year with enthusiasm and positivity.

Smith proclaimed July 28 as Dr. Drew Watkins Day.

Hugs and pats on the back were shared all around as Watkins expressed his thanks.

The council then moved on to the consent agenda, which included the purchase of computer hardware, an amendment to the school traffic zones and a redevelopment agreement for 208 E. First St.

Agenda Item 4 considered amending the school traffic zones of the town’s ordinances “by modifying the limits and hours of operation of such zones.”

According to the agenda packet, new streets were added in various developments around Prosper, which necessitated adding new school zone locations for Stuber Elementary, Cockrell Elementary and Rushing Middle School.

A full list of the changes can be found in the agenda packet, which can be downloaded from the town’s website at prospertx.gov/government/town-council/minutes-agendas-packets/.

After approving all of the consent agenda items, the council moved on to the regular agenda.

This included a sign waiver for Cook Children’s Medical Center, a request to rezone 27.4 acres for single-family development, and several items about the relocation of the Custer Road Pipeline.

Cook Children’s Medical Center requested a sign waiver because its proposed construction fence signage was greater than allowed by the current ordinance.

The item was approved, but the applicant will need to maintain the signage until the expected completion of the hospital, which according to the applicant will be in approximately 24 months.

The council also approved the rezoning of acreage on the south side of Prairie Drive, east of Legacy Drive, from Planned Development-65 to Planned Development-Single Family.

Items 9-12 were opened simultaneously.

Item 9 concerned acting upon an amendment of a budget ordinance and Capital Improvement Plan.

Items 10-12 were about the major project of the Custer Road Pipeline and meter vault relocation.

Hulon Webb, the town’s director of engineering services, gave a presentation on the items.

He explained the project, saying that the Texas Department of Transportation is going to widen Custer Road, and a portion of the right-of-way obtained near the Custer Road Pump Station encompasses the town’s pipeline from the North Texas Municipal Water District.

Because the pipeline is in the way of the expansion, TxDOT is requiring the town to relocate the pipeline. The agency has said it will pay for all costs associated with the relocation.

The town will ultimately need a larger pipeline to accommodate future water needs for the community, so the pipeline will not only be moved but will also be upsized to its ultimate capacity as a part of the project.

The upsizing will not be covered by TxDOT, which will only fund the relocation. However, the cost will ultimately be minimal to the town if the work is done at the same time.

“Of the total estimated $4 million cost for the pipeline relocation project, the town’s only cost for the upsizing of the pipeline is estimated to be $119,850,” Webb said.

He said the work is anticipated to begin next month and should take 180 days to complete.

After approving all items concerning the project, the council moved to Item 13, which was a discussion and presentation by Chuck Springer, executive director of administrative services.

The presentation was about the implementation and success of the Continuous Process Improvement Program within the town’s governmental bodies.

The program is designed to help streamline the processes of government in order to save time and money.

Since implementing the program in early 2019, the town has sped up its hiring processes, helped organize the Parks and Recreation Department, and increased efficiency within the Fire Department.

“The Fire Department implemented some new software to reorganize their drug storage. … They can also now make sure that they don’t have any that are going to go past their expiration date, something we’ve paid for that we’re not going to be able to use,” Springer said.

Finally, there was a presentation by Finance Director Betty Pamplin and a short discussion regarding follow up from the budget work session held on June 18.

The council then moved into executive session.

Prosper ISD Superintendent Dr. Drew Watkins, left, holds a proclamation presented to him by Prosper Mayor Ray Smith during the July 28 Town Council meeting.