Mayor gives 'State of the Community' address

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Members of the public are encouraged to attend a town hall meeting to discuss Prosper's budget, which is scheduled Aug. 27 at Prosper Town Hall.

Highlights include talk of road improvements

Prosper Mayor Ray Smith joined the Chamber of Commerce Chair Kenneth Dugger and Prosper ISD Superintendent Dr. Holly Ferguson for the State of Community on Jan. 21.  This event, held virtually to meet CDC guidelines, was held live on Facebook and is available on the city Facebook page.  Mayor Smith reviewed the events and structural updates promoted by the town, along with that is planned for 2021 and beyond. 

Mayor Smith joked that the community should “go to the website and write down their cell phone numbers.  If you get upset, call them, especially call Amy (Bartley) as she is newest on the council.  If you are happy, call me.”

Mayor Smith recognized that 2020 was a year like no other.  “We have had a difficult time, civil and political unrest, plus the economic difficulties from the pandemic.  We are going to get through it all, together.  We have such a good community.  Here in Prosper, though, we are lucky because we have some people on the council that are prudent with the spending.  We are in good fiscal shape.  The people in Prosper have been so good about following the guidelines, even as they have changed.  We appreciate that.  I believe that your compliance has kept our numbers down in the area.  We have had weekly meetings for the Covid response team, and we quickly tried to get that information to you.”  

Prosper Mayor Ray Smith presents during the January 2020 annual State of the Community event. This year's presentation was a virtual event.

“The We Prosper Together Campaign was held during 2020,” Smith said.  “This was grants for small businesses.  We distributed $102,000 to 19 small businesses in Prosper to keep those businesses open and their employees paid.  This community really cares for each other and it is obvious during fundraisers like this.”  

During the November election the community approved three bond measures.  Voters approved  $30 million for Public Safety, $30 went to Parks and Recreation, and $150 million for infrastructure.  As the Prosper population continues to increase, more and wider streets are necessary.  

Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a record year for building homes in Prosper.  Over 1,100 permits were issued for the building of new houses. 

“People out there are still out there buying homes, and they want to live in Prosper Texas,”Smith said.  “You heard it from Dr. Ferguson, the district has great leadership and amazing teachers so people want to live here.  Developers are telling me that they can not put lots on the ground fast enough for the builders.  We will continue to see those permit numbers continue to rise.”  

Cook Children's Hospital has started building on a site in Prosper.  Also, Children’s Health bought a site on the tollway and Hwy 380.  Both of these projects will bring in more jobs, more families, and more opportunities for our town.  

“The hike and bike trail has been approved,” Smith said.  “We approved 22 miles of hike and bike trail for our community.  This was approved in November 2020.  This allows us to continue to support our community going outside, which has been especially important during a pandemic.”

“Our Town Council and staff have a lot of good relationships with TXDoT, our county commissioners and our judges,”  Smith said.  “We are constantly negotiating and begging for money for infrastructure.  We have been able to get over $1 billion in regional infrastructure money put into Prosper, including the Custer Road Project.  We are also still discussing the Hwy 380 Bypass with TXDoT, and will continue to advocate for the route we would like the road to take.  We have our gloves on and we are battling for you, trying to keep the bypass on the route we have approved in five resolutions.”  

The Town of Prosper purchased the first ladder truck for the town.  As more buildings are built, especially multistory buildings, this purchase was necessary.  A fire engine was also purchased with grant money.  In 2020, both fire and police departments have won awards based on their performance.  

Mayor Smith encouraged citizens to invest a few moments a month to read about the new goings on in Prosper.  “There is a monthly development report offered by the town,” Smith said.  “Read up on this and you will be the smartest person in your neighborhood.  There are so many projects going on and it is important to keep updated on what is happening in your community.”