The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday granted a 30-year ground lease to build the biggest workout facility in the area.

The 2.1-acre, 45,000-square-foot Armed Services YMCA will occupy city property at the northeast corner of Purser Family Park. ASYMCA will pay the city $1 a year, in addition to utility costs.

The lease requires city approval for all facility programs and activities, which should complement the neighborhood, said Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Bark.

“Since it is a neighborhood park, we really don’t want to see ... a 5:30 outdoor yoga class running through the park at that time,” Bark said. “We made that mistake with one of our units going out there, and they ran cadence through the park and we got calls the next morning. I wanted to make sure we were being good neighbors.”

A motion by Councilman Spencer Smith to lease the land was seconded by Councilman Hal Schiffman, and passed unanimously.

The lease carries a 20-year renewal option after it expires in 2043, according to city documents. People could seek shelter at the facility during emergency situations. City workers will maintain the surrounding landscape and grounds.

The Armed Services YMCA is expected to serve more than 15,000 veterans and civilians, according to the project overview. The new ASYMCA will offer post-outpatient soldier rehabilitation programs, military family counseling, family meet-ups, holistic wellness programs, and nutrition and cooking classes.

“It’s the first of its kind,” said ASYMCA board member Cindy Davis.

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights CEO Matt Maxfield presented ASYMCA with a $2 million check at a May 23 dedication ceremony for the construction of the two-story facility.

Board member Donna Connell said an agreement with Seton called for breaking ground within the next 1½ years, but the project overview stated that building could start by December. The facility will take about a year to finish.

Along with offering soldier rehabilitation programs for lost limbs, severe burns, heart issues and other injuries, the center will have a $1.5 million warm water therapy pool with a treadmill on the bottom, Davis said.

“Our (soldiers) who are fighting are coming back with really bad injuries,” Davis said. After they do their major rehab, they need to continue their own rehab. That’s what we’ll have. … The (Killeen area) doesn’t have anything like this.”

The idea for the new complex crystallized in 2009, said Tony Mino, executive director of ASYMCA Killeen.

“We saw the need,” Councilman Pat Christ said at a May ASYMCA dedication ceremony. “Our activity center can’t handle the population right now. This will give us a big, large community center, and it’ll be heavily used.”

Contact Brian Bradley at or (254) 501-7567

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.