Harker Heights has experienced steady growth over the past 10 years, and that growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
With four months still left in the year, the city of Harker Heights has already issued more residential construction permits than it did in all of 2011 and commercial permit valuations have surpassed previous years, according to the July economic development report.
As of July 31, 117 residential permits had been issued by the city, topping 2011’s year-end total of 103.
Commercial permit valuations as of July 31 totaled $7.9 million, more than the $7.6 million valuations of both 2009 and 2010.
Valuations of 2011, totaling more than $65.5 million, were enhanced by the $50 million Seton Medical Center project, according to City Planner Jim Scholz.
“2011 was a bumper crop (for the city) because of Seton,” he said.
Not surprised by the numbers, City Manager Steve Carpenter said he expects the city to continue to grow and the population to expand.
“I think we can grow to between 45,000 and 50,000 people,” he said.
Carpenter based his estimate on studies the city made on land potential in undeveloped areas of Harker Heights. The results of those studies helped the city plan for future water and sewer needs.
“We didn’t just look at acreage; we looked at the type of land available for development — flat, flood plains, ridges,” he said. “We looked at the land as it can be used and came up with the (estimated) population numbers.”
Residential permits peaked at 481 in 2006, according to the economic development report.
The numbers dropped to 329 in 2007, 226 in 2008 and 177 in 2009. Carpenter said the city expects to issue an average of 150 to 200 residential permits per year, but 2012’s numbers could exceed that average.
City officials don’t expect this year’s commercial permit valuations to surpass 2011’s, but they know that number will continue to rise through the end of the year.
“There are some big projects that might be coming in, so we’ll see,” Scholz said.
Carpenter declined to reveal details of those projects but said he is “continuously talking” to potential businesses about moving to the city.
“Very few days go by that we’re not talking to someone who’s at least speculating,” Carpenter said. “There’s some things that we’re looking at, but it doesn’t mean a thing until you actually get a permit.”