By Leigh Armstrong
The middle school First Lego League team presented a plan to the borough assembly public safety committee on Oct. 3 for adding more crosswalks in town as part of their entry in competition on Oct. 3.
This year’s challenge for Skagway’s First Lego League, named team Krosswalk Kangaroos, is called “City Shaper” and challenges participants to find real ways they can improve their hometown.
Each year, the company-sponsored international Lego League issues a challenge based on a real-world topic, with teams working to develop solutions. “What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?” is this year’s challenge, according to the website.
After meeting with Mayor Andrew Cremata, the team took the suggestion of adding more crosswalks and moved forward with ideas, Mary Thole, the team coach, said. Additionally, they surveyed the Skagway Traditional Council on the idea of adding more crosswalks.
The team thought about areas that needed crosswalks in Skagway and took into account tourism and community needs, as well as areas in need of handicap accessibility.
One last-minute idea the team had before presenting was making one of the crosswalks rainbow colored to show support of the LGBTQ community.
Overall, the team presented 10 areas for additional crosswalks, including busy sections at Second and Broadway and Fifth and Broadway. Also included in their suggestions was a crosswalk at Sixth and State, as it’s a daily crossing point for a community member who is visually impaired and a community member who is mobility impaired.
After the presentation, Assemblymember Dan Henry lauded the team’s research and said the students had hit all of the hot spots under discussion by the committee.
“I am blown away. That was outstanding. I don’t know if you missed one,” Henry said.
The public safety committee motioned for the plan to move forward to the full assembly and told the team they would like them to present when it comes up on the agenda.
Improving the community is only one portion of the competition. The other portions consist of building and programming a robot to perform certain tasks. Due to the equipment being shipped into town, the team only recently received the parts to they need.
Though there’s still the actual robotics portion that the team has to work on for its entry in the competition, Thole said she is proud of the team for having an impact on Skagway with their crosswalk presentation.