Despite a struggling economy, property sales are up in the Copperas Cove area. Many are finding the rural area is a great place to raise their families, said Jaquie Braas of Coldwell Banker United Realty.

“Austin is causing an uptick in the market. Prices there have gone through the roof,” Braas said. “As home prices go up, people are venturing further out of the city and that is good for Cove.”

Col. Steve Cook has spent his military career living all over the world. After his first tour at Fort Hood from 1991-1994, he continued to seize the opportunity to return to Central Texas whenever possible. He was stationed at Fort Hood again from 2006-2009, returned a final time in 2012, and will retire in the area in July.

“I knew when I was a lieutenant that I wanted to settle here,” Cook said. “I moved to Korea and came back to Hood. I wasn’t married yet. But I like the country and I like the people.”

In 1996, Cook purchased 700 acres just outside of Cove in Lampasas County.

“I think it’s a great place to settle. It’s very friendly, welcoming and shares great values to raise a family,” Cook said. “I purchased more land than I had planned. But I was looking at two things — general location and the commute to Fort Hood and it was a good investment based on land prices.”

Cook said the main reason he chose to live in the area was his children, a daughter, 14, and two sons, 12 and 7. This year, his son Scooter showed livestock in the county fair.

“He learns a lot of responsibility with his animals, taking care of them and maintaining them,” Cook said. “His first show was a real community effort.”

Braas said moving to the area, and choosing Cove over Killeen, were personal choices.

“Many are looking for less congestion and a more rural area not having neighbors so close to you. People are not wanting that big-city, on-top-of-each-other atmosphere,” Braas said. “They are looking for a rural yet suburban feel to the property.”

Braas also cited Cove’s lower crime rate, highly rated schools, and lower property costs and property taxes as the main reasons families are leaving the big-city life behind.

Cook admits that while country living is great for his children, it limits his career opportunities once he retires from the Army. “The job search is going to be a little painful. The big-paying jobs are in the big cities. I may have to commute,” Cook said.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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