By Sonya Campbell

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - The city is moving forward with one of its largest infrastructure projects to date - the West Ninth Avenue Extension and Overpass Project, which will span Nolan Creek and connect Main Street to Loop 121.

The project has been on the city's Thoroughfare Plan as a minor collector street for about 10 years.

City officials Tuesday described it as "one of the most complex design and ultimately construction projects in the city's history." The overall cost is estimated at $5 million.

Although the council was unanimous in its official vote moving the project forward, Mayor Pro Tem Marion Grayson questioned whether it was worth the time, cost and effort.

But Mayor Jim Covington said once complete, it would provide access to other infrastructure projects and also fit in with the city's plans to expand westward.

Funding will come from a variety of sources - some presently unknown.

In 2007, the city issued certificates of obligation for capital projects, including $400,000 for this project. It also received a federal appropriation and a pledge from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to pay $200,000.

The city also is seeking additional funding sources.

During Tuesday's meeting, the City Council decided to contract with KPA Engineers for professional engineering services.

In other business:

The city approved submitting a grant application to the Texas Governor's Office Criminal Justice in the hopes of funding a K-9 program for the police department.

Police Chief Gene Ellis presented awards. Among those honored were the recipients of the 2010 Police Chief's Award, Jerry and Cheryl Grote; 2010 Officer of the Year, Raul Montes; and Officers of the Quarter (fourth in 2010), Commander Jen Wesley and Sgt. Larry Berg.

Contact Sonya Campbell at or (254) 501-7585.

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