By Hailey Persinger

Killeen Daily Herald

In an effort to make Central Texas more sustainable, the cities of Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove and Gatesville have banded together to research the best sustainable practices and what those would look like for the area.

Representatives from all cities and Fort Hood will continue a Community Goal-Setting Series today after a meeting Thursday introduced concepts and strategies involved in creating a sustainable community. Kevin Palmer, director of the Center for Sustainability in Virginia, told the group that sustainability is not necessarily limited to "green" operations.

"A lot of people think sustainability is a green thing," he said. "It's not. It's an economic thing. It's a green thing. It's a social thing."

Each city brought its goals for sustainable living. These included Copperas Cove's goal to enhance solid waste programs, Killeen's goal to enhance public transportation by 2030 and Harker Heights' goal of allowing for easily accessible natural gas.

Though the goals of each city vary in their timelines and details, Palmer said the group is on the right track to eventually collaborate on projects.

"Are the goals the same? They're not," he said. "But y'all are on the same sheet of music."

James Yarbrough, an Environmental Protection Agency representative who has worked with past sustainability projects in Dallas, outlined typical processes for creating a sustainable community. While recycling and solar power are typical first thoughts when it comes to sustainability, Yarbrough said there are first steps city councils themselves can take.

His example of Dallas' sustainability procedures included an ordinance that "grandfathers in" homebuilding sustainability standards.

As the cities continue researching options, Randy Doyle, pollution prevention program manager at Fort Hood, said they "are stealing every good idea" for consideration in hopes of creating a fully sustainable community.

Though implementation is a long way off, Ray Shanaa, Killeen's director of planning and development, said sharing research with the city is the first step in that direction.

"As the demand for action comes, we will consult our policy makers," he said. "We want to promote sustainability but we have to be cautious. Sustainability is a big world. What end do we tackle first?"

Contact Hailey Persinger at (254) 501-7568 or

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