• July 30, 2014

Cove creating work group for highway master plan

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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:56 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

Copperas Cove will create a work group to develop a master plan for the future Business 190 roadway.

“We know that with the bypass coming in that is going to do a lot to relieve congestion on U.S. (Highway) 190, but there is a concern that is going to detract from business on (the current) U.S. 190,” said Christ Stewart, with Stewart Planning Consulting, the city’s planner.

After the bypass opens, the loop to the south of Copperas Cove will become the new highway route leaving the city’s main thoroughfare to be labeled as a business route. While economic development on the new highway will be limited because of its limited access, the city wants to ensure the current roadway stays viable and hopefully improves.

“Many of the buildings are 20 to 30 years old, and we know they are going to continue to play an important role in the city’s economy and serving the community,” Stewart said.

“I think there is an opportunity to improve the image of U.S. 190. A lot of that image is going to focus on physical improvements, and those improvements will be funded with public and private capital.”

Last week, the City Council agreed the best way to achieve those improvements would be to create a work group to draft a master plan for the area.

At the meeting, the council discussed including Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, city staff, the Economic Development Corporation and some area stakeholders in the work group.

KCCB, which was recently awarded a $200,000 grant to beautify a portion of Copperas Cove, has an interest in using those funds along the roadway and improving the image of the street.

Since the creation of the work group was approved, Stewart will start to facilitate the meeting.

“I don’t come with it as a set vision; everyone that comes into the group does,” he said. “What I am trying to do is get everyone together at the same table and bring ideas forward.”

Having a detailed master plan can benefit the area in numerous ways, Stewart said.

A plan can aid in seeking grant funds because it shows the city has been developing projects and help explain the needs, he said. It also can provide a guideline for outside entities such as businesses looking to redevelop. The plan shows the image the city is hoping to project.

“If you have a plan, then people from the outside will know that you are trying to do something cohesive and that you are trying to treat everything the same way,” Stewart said. “Having that plan helps to get the buy-in from everyone who is affected.”

Stewart said he hadn’t yet determined the dates for the work group’s first meeting.

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