By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen Economic Develop-ment Corporation on Friday pledged two more years of funding for the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance.
Retired Gen. Pete Taylor established the alliance in February 2003 to work on issues related to the planned Base Realignment and Closure Round of 2005.
The KEDC gave the organization about $70,000 worth of seed money to get started and an additional $30,000 at the start of the fiscal year. The group pledged $200,000 more to the alliance over the next two years.
Taylor told the KEDC that the alliance, which he has led on a volunteer basis, ought to have a full-time staff to continue its mission.
Taylor said the work would best be done by someone with credibility who knows Fort Hood. He would not say who he had in mind for the position.
One name that has surfaced in the community in connection with the position is Fort Hood Garrison Commander Col. William Parry, who will relinquish his command Aug. 26 with plans to retire.
Taylor estimated the alliance needs about $200,000 annually to continue pursuing its goals, and asked the KEDC to fund half that amount.
To date, Taylor noted the organizations success, including more than $20 million in state funding for roads with the promise of more troops.
We have met with leaders in Austin and Washington, Taylor said. A lot of contacts have been established.
Although the KEDC is the alliances largest contributor, Taylor said a total of seven cities and Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties have also committed to the cause.
Taylor said the alliance has established one voice for the region to speak of Fort Hood and the defense industry.
To be successful, weve got to work it every day, Taylor said, noting that waiting for the BRAC process to begin would be too late.
Taylor said he visualized a continued need for the alliance, or a similar organization long after the BRAC process.
I dont see an end to it unless we close Fort Hood, Taylor said.
A full-time staff, assisted by committed volunteers, Taylor said, will need to establish a long-term strategic plan and keep a good linkage with the decision makers who pass through Fort Hood.
Mayor Maureen Jouett expressed confidence in Taylor and the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, saying it supported the citys goals of keeping the post strong and pursuing economic development.
Contact Lisa Soule at email@example.com