Last week on my commute home, seeing tall grasses and colorful flowers nearly overgrowing the rezoning signs, I was captivated by Grand Prairie Parkway. A few days later, half the land I’d admired was plowed over, a proud Mills Fleet Farm billboard the cherry on top. I guess I shouldn’t have put off writing this letter.

In Waukee, our roots go far deeper than namesakes Grant, Ragan, Shuler, and Alice. Formerly covering 80 percent of our state, it’s the prairie that gave us our foundation. Today, less than one percent of the original prairie remains. It’s easy to put a name on a street sign, but it’s hard to pay homage to what we don’t know we’re missing.

Although development continues, I ask: what if Grand Prairie Parkway truly embodied its namesake? If businesses landscaped with native plants? If the medians weren’t mowed? If the deer still pranced and the meadowlarks still sang? That sounds pretty grand to me.

The best way to honor our roots is to cultivate them. Grand Prairie Parkway is supposed to be a gateway to the future. Why can’t it also be an amazing example of our past?

Shakira Stowers - Waukee