It was a year of transition, reaching milestones and the beginning of projects that will be carried over into the completion stage during 2018 in the city of Harker Heights.
City Manager David Mitchell told the Herald, “I want to personally thank our council for their vision, leadership and support during 2017 that launched us into major improvement and renovation projects that will bring us even closer to our vision which is to provide public services that empower people to focus on what matters most: their goals, hopes and dreams.”
Not only did Harker Heights reach another milestone by exceeding a population of 30,000 residents but met its goals in terms of city projects.
Early in 2017, Harker Heights began projects financed from the 2017 Certificates of Obligation.
These significant projects included beginning the renovation/expansion of the Central Fire Station and Pet Adoption Center, water tank rehabilitations and the demolition of old pump stations.
The Central Fire Station project is underway with a completion date in early 2018. The Pet Adoption Center is in the engineering phase with construction to begin this month. Completion is expected in the mid- to late 2018 time frame.
The tank rehabs and pump demolitions are ongoing and have completion dates in early 2018.
The city committed itself to maintain its infrastructure in 2017. The council renewed a Five-Year Street Improvement Plan that lays out specific long-range guidance for the logistics of these improvements.
Coral, Cottonmouth and Elmwood drives, Oakwood Drive and Elmwood Circle were all reconstructed in 2017. Sidewalks were constructed on Prospector Trail, Farm-to-Market 3481, Mountain Lion Road and Amy Lane. The widening of FM 2410 north of Interstate 14 also began in 2017.
Several multiple wastewater improvements were completed through funding from a Community Development Block Grant program.
Just prior to the end of 2017, the council received the City’s Water Master Plan that brings together an overall view of the capital improvement projects needed to maintain the City’s Water System.
Mitchell said, “The city capped off the year by receiving a report on the results of the City’s Sanitary Sewer Initiative that covered a 10-year period of wastewater improvements in the Heights.
“Council members will continue to maintain a focus on improving and upgrading infrastructure to ensure quality service for now and the future.”
One of the more sizable accomplishments last year was the completion of the Exploring New Heights: Quality of Place, a report that gathered input from focus groups that met at City Hall for a number weeks along with civic groups, Knights of the Roundtable, and citizens that gathered for the National Night Out event.
“We asked the participants ‘What do you wish from your City?’ The findings of the study will help guide the city moving forward,” Mitchell said.
The city was asked to assist in housing evacuees from the Texas coast during Hurricane Harvey.
“The council, staff and citizens came through with such open hearts and a spirit of giving that we couldn’t take all the donations being offered,” Mitchell said. “The staff still receives notes of thanks from the evacuees who sheltered in Harker Heights.”
According to Mitchell, 2018 will be an exciting year with the upgrade completions of Central Fire Station and the Pet Adoption Center.
Concerning traffic, a roundabout intersection will be installed at Commercial and Heights Drive, allowing better traffic flow in that area during peak traffic times.
Wooden retaining walls along Mountain Lion Road will be improved with the installation of concrete block.
Other construction projects in 2018 will include: continued construction along FM 2410 and the widening of Interstate 14 to three lanes each direction from the city’s western boundary to just east of Indian Trail.
Mitchell said, “The city will also complete the engineering and right-of-way acquisition to expand our wastewater system to Killeen ISD’s proposed middle school site on Warrior’s Path,” Mitchell said. “There’s a lot to look forward to.”