By Judy Pack

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS Residents here want to shop and eat locally. Businesses inquiring about the possibility of locating in the growing community are keeping city officials busy.

This is a great problem to have, said City Councilman Mike Miller.

The recent addition of Wal-Marts supercenter on the eastbound access road of U.S. Highway 190 and Heights Drive has helped spur commercial growth nearby, says Bradley Buckley, a local veterinarian who has invested in the real estate market and commercial development.

Wal-Mart made Commercial Drive a side-drive, for enhanced visibility, he said of his third venture into the commercial development. We owned the land (along Commercial Drive)

before Wal-Mart, and were considering developing it and building, but didnt know a time frame.

Once Wal-Mart announced plans to build, Buckley said he moved forward with development plans, and leased the space within 90 to 120 days. He gives his business partner, Tim Boze, much of the credit for their successes.

The building will have a residential feel to it that will make it fit in with the residential area nearby, which Buckley feels is an important aspect of Harker Heights commercial development process.

Everyone will benefit if you build a quality building that enhances the neighborhood, he said.

The residential growth in Harker Heights is incredible, Miller said. The current population is approximately 22,000. The development of new housing subdivisions is primarily along Farm-to-Market 2410, extending past the citys new high school and toward Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Residents are pleased with the commercial and retail expansion, he said. Providing services close to their homes makes for more convenience for families.

The Harker Heights City Council traded property Tuesday with Colleen Beck, president and CEO of Union State Bank. The agreement provides prime commercial development for the bank at the southeast access road of U.S. Highway 190 and FM 2410.

Application for a bank has been made and approved for Harker Heights, said J.C. Walker, Union State Bank vice president.

Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce president Bill Kozlik verified the plan for the new bank earlier in the week.

No doubt, theres going to be a new Union State Bank, Kozlik said Wednesday.

A retail strip center on Indian Trail is currently under construction, with completion set for October. The owner, Robert Min, said more than one-third of the center has been leased. It is his first retail venture in the Harker Heights area, he said.

Kozlik said Min will bring a dry cleaning business to Harker Heights, and possibly a doughnut shop.

As heavy equipment moves the ground on the west side of FM 2410, south of the entrance to Wal-Mart, the recent news of a Walgreens drugstore coming to the area has added fuel to speculation about other popular retailers.

Prospective businesses conduct property feasibility studies, he said, before making a decision. The process of gathering data on the area takes time, he emphasized, and the process involves trust and confidentiality.

Steve Carpenter, Harker Heights city manager, said its important to provide a balance in commercial and residential growth. City leaders have accomplished a great deal, he said. Issues regarding traffic flow, proper city ordinances and plans for restaurants and entertainment must continue to be addressed.

We put a group of citizens together to address the look of the city in 15 years, he said. The group, Explore New Heights, looked at four areas: appearance, quality of life, infrastructure and economic growth.

Existing conditions and suggestions on ways to approach the topics were also examined by the group, he said.

The continued growth for the city should improve the residents quality of life the city of Harker Heights already enjoys, Miller said.

Contact Judy Pack at

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