By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
After years of planning, the Killeen Housing Authority director is ready to see one of her top goals realized.
Judy Valcourt said her top priorities for the citys two housing projects were to clean up the neighborhoods and build a community center.
Valcourt accomplished the first goal with some paint, maintenance and strict enforcement of rules. Now she is one step away from watching construction begin on a new community center.
The City Council on Tuesday will consider accepting a bid to build the 5,700-square-foot building near the Moss Rose housing project, behind the downtown post office.
A Community Development Block Grant of $50,000 will help fund the $476,0000 project. Capital funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will help pay for the project along with past grant funds.
Valcourt has been working to improve both the Moss Rose and Highview housing areas since she took over in 2001.
One of the first things she did was move to purchase an old apartment building on the edge of the Moss Rose neighborhood.
There were five apartments there, Valcourt said, noting it had become a hangout for drug users and prostitutes.
We bought the building one year and tore it down the next, Valcourt said. This year we are ready to begin building.
Resident Johnnie B. Morrison said she will be glad to see the project get started.
I was wondering if I was going to see it in my lifetime, Morrison, 76, said. This has been in the works for quite awhile.
One small building in the Moss Rose neighborhood serves the resident coordinator, maintenance, youth programs and other meetings.
Its really too small, Morrison said of the building that measures about 500 square feet.
Our youth programs have grown and we always need more things for our children, Morrison said.
When the old building came down, Morrison said, she was outside cheering.
That was a big improvement, Morrison said. It was old, used for drugs and prostitution and it was just ugly.
The new center will have a room that may be divided, a kitchen, computer lab and police substation.
It will allow us to bring in more services, Valcourt said. The computer lab will help tenants learn computer skills and search for jobs. The substation will give us a police presence.
Contact Lisa Soule at firstname.lastname@example.org