By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

Bell County's population grew by more than 47,000 people in the past eight years, making it the 12th fastest-growing county in Texas, County Judge Jon Burrows told the Harker Heights Kiwanis Club Tuesday. In addition, Killeen, at 116,000, is the second fastest-growing city in the state, Burrows said.

The population growth in the Texas triangle – marked by the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the San Antonio/Austin area, and the Houston area – will probably cause legislative redistricting issues requiring additional representatives, Burrows said.

"When I came to Bell County in 1976, the population was at 140,000. It's double that now. The growth has been significant," Burrows said.

Soon there will be too many people for the current districts in Central Texas to remain whole, he said.

Bell County and Williamson County are paired in Congressional District 31 and represented by Congressman John Carter of Round Rock.

Burrows also discussed recently completed and future projects to the club during Tuesday's meeting.

Recently completed projects include a new district court at the Bell County Justice Center, the expansion of the Bell County Museum and Killeen Annex, the renovation of the former district courts building for sheriff's offices and auxiliary courts, the purchase and renovation of the Texell Credit Union building, and the renovation of the Bell County Expo Center.

Countywide plans for 2010 and 2011 include a new building for the county courts annex and county clerk area and a new building for county archives, maintenance and sheriff's impound. Plans also include repairs to the county courthouse and downtown jails, and the construction of an I-35 entrance to the Bell County Expo Center and repairs to its dome.

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