Prosper launches new town app

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Smartsheet is betting that project management in the cloud will be big business. But it's also not the only one.

The town of Prosper is growing, and with this growth comes new roads, more stop lights, and other capital improvement projects.  While the citizens trust those elected and the town staff to manage these improvements, transparency and access to the information is important communication.  Recently, the town launched Smartsheet, a program to help staff track capital improvement projects’ progress and allow citizens to access the information in real time.

Lindy Higginbotham is a Senior Engineer for the capital improvement projects Department for the town of Prosper. 

“We have Smartsheet both on the Prosper website and on the Prosper app,” Higganbotham said.  “Previously, residents would go through the website, to construction updates, and then would see a pdf of a paper report that was updated monthly.  This is the system we used for years, and the information was stagnant.  People did not have access to know who could answer questions about our projects.”

“The town began looking for a program that would get the information out there to the residents,” Higganbotham said.  “We want residents to see what the projects are, where the money is going, and what the schedule is for each project.  Even if the project is not close to you in the town, you can still look up what is going on throughout Prosper streets.  The town of Prosper really values being able to better communicate these things with the residents.” 

“This program allows us to track the projects, keep the data, as well as having a dashboard that gives you information at a glance,” Higginbotham said.  “When you open Smartsheet, you can find a location based on a map, or by specific project.  There are a few different ways you can look for a project.  When you access Smartsheet, you are able to see the basic schedule for the project, and the ‘health of the project.’  The ‘health of the project’ indicates if the project is on track.”

Smartsheet CEO Mark Mader

Higginbotham explained the concept of the ‘health of a project.’ 

“If there is a yellow in the project means that there is a small item that the town is aware of, and is working on.  Also, if it is red, that just means the project is not on target for whatever reason.  Because of Covid and then the snow storm, we have a few projects behind a bit, although most are on track.” 

To access Smartsheet, click on Frequently Asked Questions/Hot Topics, then on Construction Updates.  The Smartsheet program will open, and all the information available for each project will be available to residents.  In each project, one or two town staff members will be listed and those staff are best able to answer questions about specific projects.  Also included is the construction budget and contracted company and engineering firm.  At the bottom of each project, we have status information that is updated as the project continues.  

“Additionally, there is information if there is some joint venture with TxDOT, NTTA, or PISD,” Higginbotham said.  “Depending on the type of project in these joint ventures, we may not have all of the information.  We have included all the information we have, as well as the information from TxDOT or NTTA.  For example, if it is a TxDOT project and they are the lead agency, they may not update us immediately as there is progress on the project.  As soon as we have the information, we add it to the Smartsheet,” Higginbotham said.  

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Higginbotham was clear that this is a program that gives information for capital improvement projects only. 

“This will not tell you what new building is going up, things like that,” Higginbotham said.  “That is a development project.  This program will not tell you what retail is going on at Gates of Prosper.  This is for roads, water lines, sewer lines, street lights, that sort of thing is what is listed in the capital improvement Project reporting system.”  

“We welcome questions from our residents,” Higginbotham said.  “The inspector or town project manager are listed on Smartsheet, and we are both able to answer the questions.  We can be called, emailed, or texted, and we are able to quickly respond.  We know there is a lot going on because of the growth in the area, and we want the information available to our residents.”  

Along with Smartsheet access, the capital improvements projects department is hosting public meetings to provide more information in regard to larger projects.  Additionally, town staff communicates with PISD principals and transportation when a project is near a school, to better facilitate drop off and pick up of students.  Smartsheet and additional information is available at https://www.prospertx.gov/.