By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – City staff addressed the Harker Heights Kiwanis Club about the city's 50th anniversary Tuesday.
"I think we have a lot to celebrate," City Manager Steve Carpenter said.
The city had about 1,200 people when it was incorporated on Sept. 24, 1960, and it currently has a population around 25,000, Carpenter estimated while discussing the city's growth.
Harker Heights also has gone from having about a $3 million tax appraisal value to about $1.4 billion, Carpenter said.
It has accomplished this through good civic leaders and good planning, Carpenter said, mentioning that the city took advantage of alcohol sales in its earlier years and has grown into a much different community.
"They have decided they wanted to do something different, and that is what we want to do," Carpenter said.
Assistant City Manager Patty Brunson showed the Kiwanis Club several pictures of old city facilities, such as the first city hall, and older projects along with the newer counterparts.
"We have been at a point in the city's history where we have been able to do a lot of things," Carpenter said.
Brunson also showed a slide of several of the city's mayors since its 1960 incorporation. The list included eight mayors from P.R. Cox, the city's founder, to current Mayor Ed Mullen.
For 50 years, that is not really a lot of mayors, Carpenter said.
Being one of the oldest civic organization servicing only Harker Heights, the Kiwanis Club has also played a role in the city's growth.
"Five of the eight mayors on there have been Kiwanis Club members," Kiwanis Club member David McClure said.
The city has looked at holding the anniversary celebration at Dana Peak Park, where there would be room for live music, a fireworks show, a history presentation and more, Carpenter said.
The city has never really celebrated its accomplishments like it should, Carpenter said. It has a ground-breaking ceremony or a grand opening every now and then, but it should really celebrate what it has become, he added.
"We plan on this being a free activity," Carpenter said. "We want a lot of people there. We should make a bigger deal of what is going on here. We need to do more for it because we really should be proud of it."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554.