PIQUA — A city sprang up overnight inside the Piqua National Guard Armory. The town of Careful Corners was built by Officer Brett Marrs of the Piqua Police Department, with some assistance from his family and friends.
Many will remember the popular Careful Corners project that took place during the 1980s and into the early 1990s. The project was aimed at teaching children highway safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
With Officer Marrs at the helm, Police Chief Bruce Jamison reinvented Careful Corners for the 21st century.
More than 20 incoming Piqua City Schools kindergarten students signed up for the project.
The main feature of Careful Corners is the “town” itself. Plastic highways criss-cross the small town with traffic signals and stop signs, crosswalks, and pedestrians. Kids, mounted on Big Wheels tricycles are taught to navigate the highways, drive with courtesy, and pay attention to traffic signals, as they make their way around the course.
While groups of Big Wheels “motorists” drive through the town, other kids, accompanied by a Piqua police officer, learn to cross streets safely as pedestrians, watch for stop signs, and use the pedestrian crossing beacons found in school zone areas around Piqua.
All of the traffic signals are real, constructed on a smaller scale, thanks to the City of Piqua Street Department.
Other areas of safety are discussed during the week-long program. “Each day has a different focus,” said Marrs, “yesterday was police department day, we focused on crossing streets and following traffic laws. Today is fire safety day. Tomorrow is home safety. Thursday is bus safety day. Friday, we are doing bike safety day.”
Marrs credits the Piqua Fire Department, the City of Piqua, and Piqua City Schools for much of the success of this new incarnation of Careful Corners, in addition to the work done by Piqua Police Department.
“The number one goal is for them (the kids) to have fun,” said Marrs, “If they are having fun they are going to remember things. The goal is for them to have fun so that they are learning without even knowing that they are learning.”
Marrs said that the plan is to, once again, make Careful Corners and annual event for children.
Reach Mike Ullery at (937) 451-3335