Construction is progressing at the Five Hills Shopping Center and the business climate is favorable in Copperas Cove, according to presentations provided at last week's Economic Development Corporation board meeting.

As of the July 26 meeting, all pipes were in the ground and all connections had been made at the site of the future Five Hills Shopping Center and H-E-B Plus, scheduled to open in February 2013 of U.S. Highway 190 on the west side of town, according to Otto Wiederhold, senior vice president of Walker Partners, the company contracted to oversee infrastructure construction on the property.

"We're at the 98 percent range," Wiederhold said. "The project has reached or is beyond substantial completion."

All that remained at the time of the meeting was for the lines to pass pressure and bacteriological testing.

Wiederhold also informed the board that surveying was complete for the Narrows Business and Professional Park, and designs for streets and drainage are in the works.

Business retention specialist for the EDC, Jim Aanstoos, also delivered a report on the progress and findings of the corporation's Business Retention and Expansion Program.

"This report reflects a good state of the business community in Copperas Cove. Surprisingly good," said Aanstoos.

Of 45 business owners or managers interviewed this year, a "great majority," about 78 percent, rated their economic condition as "good" or "excellent."

The report also compared the performance of businesses in the city to those in Travis and Williamson counties. Copperas Cove businesses appear to be doing better than all of them.

"We're trying to get this formally published by Sept. 1 and put it on our website," said Aanstoos. "There are just two or three EDCs in Texas that have any kind of report like this online."

The report may be used as a marketing tool for corporation representatives when they travel to development functions after it is presented to the council on Aug. 21.

Aanstoos also updated the board on the status of the "Find it in Cove, Buy it in Cove" initiative.

Four students recruited for the BREP program from Central Texas College were chosen to spread the word about the initiative, resulting in more than 100 local businesses lining up to claim their pages on the Find it in Cove directory.

"We're one of 12 cities in the state to use this kind of program, and we're using it more aggressively than any of the others," said Aanstoos.

The website, which can be accessed at or through a link on the EDC and Chamber of Commerce websites, directs users to various services and businesses in the area, listing hours, specialties, menus and more.

A final budget was also distributed to the board, but approval was postponed until Executive Director Polo Enriquez could provide the board with more information regarding various engineering, design and project management costs. Approval will take place at a special meeting in the coming weeks.

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476.

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