Fall arrives this month. I hope everyone had a great and enjoyable summer. Summer seems to have gone by so fast. If you have children in your home, then you know that summer vacation has come to an end as school begins. Perhaps not everyone is excited about returning to school, but I know the teachers are ready to create adventures, challenges and opportunities to learn something new. We need to remember that kids will be waiting for buses, riding their bikes, or walking to school. Please keep your eyes out for children on your commute and remember to slow down for school zones. We wish all students, from the new kindergartners experiencing school for the first time, to the senior class preparing to head out into the world, good luck in the upcoming school year.
Below are some Back to School safety tips to share with your children:
1. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
2. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
3. Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
4. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
5. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
6. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
As the month of August ends many are preparing for the Labor Day Holiday. Labor Day is a federal holiday for these United States which is observed on the first Monday in September each year. The holiday originated on September 5, 1882 as the Central Labor Union of New York City sought to create a day off work for the working citizens. Enjoy your long weekend …you deserve it!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! In the month of October, we must again be alerted to some points of safety concerning our kids. Halloween is fun but can also be dangerous if some cautions are not observed.
Below are some important HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS:
TRICK OR TREAT WITH AN ADULT
1. Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
KEEP COSTUMES BOTH CREATIVE AND SAFE
1. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
2. Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
3. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
4. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
DRIVE EXTRA SAFELY ON HALLOWEEN
1. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
2. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
3. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
4. Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
5. Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
6. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Have a fun-filled and safe Halloween!
ANNUAL BUDGET. The City is also looking forward to the approaching new fiscal year and the plans designed to bring to our community projects that will keep up with the changing landscape around us. Beginning in September, the yearly Budget meetings return and are scheduled for the 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th of the month. We look forward to reporting to you over the coming weeks updates on the budget, projects in progress, those in the pipeline, and new initiatives to be considered by as we receive input from residents, from the commission, and from our City Manager regarding issues of interest and/or concerns in the City.
For your information I have provided some brief information on the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is an official statement of public policy regarding long range physical development in the City. CIP is a multi-year scheduling of major purchases, infrastructure improvements and construction of public facilities. The most common definition includes: “new or expanded physical facilities that are relatively large in size and cost and permanent in nature.” The CIP will be updated annually to add new projects, re-evaluate programmed and projected priorities and to incorporate recommendations, taking into account new requirements and available funding. The annual capital programming process provides the following benefits:
The CIP serve as a source of information about the city’s physical development and capital expenditures.
The CIP allows management staff to plan for future operating requirements to coincide with completed capital projects.
The CIP provides a mechanism for coordinating among projects with respect to funding location and timing and ensures that the most crucial projects are developed first.
The CIP is a tool for implementing the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
The CIP also focus on preserving the investment of the City’s infrastructure, while ensuring the efficient use of public funds.
LOOKING AHEAD: I am aware of concerns centered on the progress of the city. However, the only alternative to progression is retrogression. You can’t have rain without thunder and lighting. Generally speaking, people dislike change. They like the comfort and contentment that comes with the status quo. However, any successful status quo in the present was built upon a fruitful past. Unfortunately, present conditions are not etched in stone for the future, and this is true in any community. Whether we like it or not – the future involves change, and change is, by nature, disruptive. The only thing we should fear more than change – is failure. Failure is what happens when you’re left in the dust when others surpass us. In today’s changing world, we will either maintain the status quo which will eventually result in failure, or we can lead the disruption which is likely to cause the reinvention of our present circumstances. In the meantime we must decide: Be disrupted, or be the disruption. I vote to be the disruption. One of the most frightening things in life is change – because of fear of the unknown. As a city we realize that everyone is not going to be happy with change for one reason or the other. Beware of fear tactics that are being perpetuated by a few on social media. For every single negative there are many MORE positives. Recently, I gathered a few reviews from residents of our city, and these are the comments I received:
1. “Crime is limited. There is diversity and the schools are great. The police station is right in the neighborhood. The city is family oriented.”
2. “I like how my area is very diverse. You see people from all backgrounds here no matter what block you are on.”
3. “Changing in good ways. The City spent several million dollars to add a bike lane and widen the streets. The Public Works department is working hard to keep it a very clean community. Most people respect their property and others. Crime has dropped. Close to nothing.”
4. “This is a pretty good area to grow up; you are able to make tons of friends and learn so much from most of the people. Everyone isn’t always nice but that is with every place you choose to live. The schools in the area are super, and I love living here, not because I have a lot of family living here, but because this is my home.”
5. “West Park is an amazing city with lots of beautiful people in it. I currently live here and love the people and how beautiful everything is.”
These are just a few of the quotes that I received from our residents. Because there are some who are biased from a negative perspective, I thought I’d be biased from a positive position. As with all things in life that involve change, some will not agree, but change cannot be avoided. You either change by choice or become a relic of the past. There are some facts from the past that will give new life to your future if they are used to propel you forward. Any progress comes with a price, but it is a price that can not be avoided. The superlatives of life are good, better, and best. What we had in the past was good, but we can get better.
God bless America and God bless the City of West Park…. THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!