What would you like to see happen in Lake Highlands in 1993? A state football championship? Better schools? An end to crime? Completed streets? Homes for the homeless?
Nice wishes all, but what can you do to help make your wish happen?
That’s the double-barreled, New Year’s question the Advocate posed to some of our neighbors who live and work in our community.
Here are their answers.
Owner, Ward’s True Value Hardware Stores
Low-income housing causes a high turnover rate among school children. Many of the kids enroll in school, go for a week or two, and the next month, they’re gone. It’s disruptive to the classroom.
I’d like to shut it down if I could, but I don’t think we can.
The City’s proposal to assume control of some apartment complexes is the lesser of two evils. Worse would be the federal government running the apartment complexes. The best thing would be for private enterprise to be running the complexes.
Skillman Road is our main traffic artery. That’s going to be torn up for quite some time and until they get it finished, it’s a dangerous road to travel. They were supposed to have it finished before they started Central Expressway, but because of time and weather delays, they don’t have it finished. So you have traffic pouring off Central trying to utilize Skillman, which is also under construction, and it causes a double problem.
On low-income housing, I can support our Councilman, Donna Halstead. She has basically the same feelings I do about the problem. I don’t know a thing in the world I can do to speed Skillman along other than to support the people working on it and to understand that construction sometimes takes longer than we would like.
The stuff I can fix, I work on, things like sewage stoppages and paint jobs at the shopping centers I own in Garland and Richardson. I just put on my overalls and get to work fixing them.
Television and Radio Broadcaster
I’d like to see Skillman Road finished before Hillary Clinton is president. And I will gladly go out and shovel a couple shovels-full of dirt if that will help.
Principal, Aikin Elementary
I would love to see a reduction in our mobility rating, which measures the movement of children between schools. We have a lot of children who move often between schools, and I am concerned about the impact on how that affects their educations.
I think that’s a result of our economic times, and I also attibute it to the demands on single parents who are trying to provide for their children alone.
I’ve sent out a letter to the apartment managers in the Aikin community, and I will be meeting with them this month to see if together, we can work out some ways to decrease the mobility rating and stabilize the educational process for these students.
I hope this could become a networking group where we can examine our resources and see what we can do to help these children and their families. I’ve also been sending the apartment managers our weekly Aikin notes. Several have used the information in their apartment newsletters.
City Councilman, Lake Highlands
I would like to see the completion of the beautification projects in the works on Abrams and the newest community endeavor on Audelia Road. It’s a very visual reminder that each of us has the opportunity to make a positive impact on the community in which we live.
I’m looking forward to a continued decrease in the crime rate, as we have experienced over the last few months.
I’d like to see the rest of the money raised for the wading pool at Lake Highlands Recreation Center and construction of that over the next several months. And I’d like to see Skillman Road completed. We’re all wondering when that’s going to happen.
I have been a participant in both the Abrams and Audelia projects to a small extent, smoothing the way at City Hall. As far as the crime rate is concerned, I think continuing to foster development of crime watch is really important. We’ve brought folks to our town hall meetings to talk about organizing the community, and I certainly think that is an area where I can have an impact.
But I don’t know that anybody can help to see Skillman completed. We might just sit back in frustration and wait for the state to complete that project.
A friend of mine just got burglarized and everything taken. I would like to see these burglaries prevented, if possible. We do have a crime watch group in my neighborhood east of Audelia, and we should get more people involved.
I’m concerned about the burglaries in general. I would like to see some of these people who are committing crimes have more education and training so they would be working rather than burglarizing.
But I’m very apathetic at this time. I haven’t been totally involved in doing anything. Maybe I should get more involved in crime watch.
Assistant Chief, Northeast Police Substation
Safety is a common goal in the community, and it’s something we have to work on. The police department is the first agency citizens look to in regard to the criminal justice system. They say: ‘If the police can just stop this individual who burglarized my house or committed a crime, that will make it all better.’
The community should have a better understanding of the criminal justice system. We continue to make more and more arrests. But the criminals are rotating through the system and ending up back on the street.
For example, statistics from the Texas Criminal Policy Council show the courts are sentencing first-time homicide offenders to an average 19 to 20 years in prison, but the offenders are actually only serving four to five years. We need to send a clear, concise message to our legislators in Austin that this situation is not acceptable.
We will make continued effort to work with citizens in the areas of crime prevention and apprehension of criminals. And we’ll get involved in the education of our children, offering programs on how they can avoid situations that may send them to juvenile court and perhaps the criminal justice system.
Junior, Lake Highlands High School
Our football team was great this year, and I’d like to see our sports teams continue with their success. I’m a member of the track team, and next year I’m going to play basketball, too, so that’s how I’m going to contribute.
I would like to see the city finish all the roadwork. Abrams is fixed, finally, but Skillman Road…This has been going on for years. And I’d just like to see it done. It causes a lot of traffic confusion and creates a lot of places where I can’t turn in off the streets when I need to because they’re blocked off. I think the construction causes accidents at intersections, and I’m going to be real glad when it’s over.
But there’s not a lot I can do about that other than to be patient.
Certainly for Lake Highlands, and Dallas as a whole, I’d like to see less crime. As a citizen, I’m going to be more watchful and observant and do what I can to encourage neighborhood residents to stick together. I’d like to take a more active role in crime-watch activities. I think citizens should be more vocal about encouraging local readers to take a harder look at crime.
People need more of a sense of neighborhood – each of us getting acquainted with people who live near us so we have a sense of community and our neighbors are people we can count on.
In my apartment complex, I look people in the eye, smile and say hello when I see them. It’s very difficult to form a sense of community when you live in apartments. It’s taken a year, but now when people see me, they smile and say hello to me.
They could work a little faster on the streets, because they’re very bumpy. I also think we could have more fundraising for hospitals and homeless people. There’s not much I can do at the moment because I’m just a kid. But I’ll think about it.
It would be nice to do something about the crime rate. It’s really hard to deal with. If it’s after 8 p.m., I have to think about if a trip I want to make is really necessary. People just have to keep a watch out for strange people in the community, and if they see someone, call the police.
Hockey Writer and Booking Agent for Comedians
I’d like to see less violence in the school system and more education for children. We’ve just been reading so much in the newspapers about the gang violence. I think education might help with the problem. People in my community are supporting the police department and electing crime-control politicians.