By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS – The City Council authorized the city manager to purchase more park land Tuesday after a closed meeting to discuss the issue.

The city has been leasing the Melba Jo Pioneer Park off Farm-to-Market Road 3219 for years to give youth a place to play baseball, and now the city may purchase it, City Manager Steve Carpenter said Wednesday.

The council authorized the purchase of the 20-acre park Tuesday for $35,000 with closing costs not to exceed more than $5,000.

The land, which once belonged to Sprint, is now owned by Embarq, Carpenter said.

"I think they were considering the possible sale of it, and they contacted us," Carpenter said. "We figure we could use the additional park space."

The land is longer than it is wide with a large open field up front, and trees near South Nolan Creek, which runs at the back of the land.

"It is going to be more of an open area for picnicking," Carpenter said. "It is a beautiful area."

The park currently has some baseball fields with lights and a scoreboard, picnic tables and a small gazebo area toward the back of the land.

Carpenter said the city could spend some money on the park in the future to upgrade things like adding a bathroom and improving equipment at Pioneer Park, Carpenter said.

The city started to use the park after it decided to place the police station where the old baseball fields were located, Carpenter said. The city moved the equipment to Pioneer Park so children would have a place to play.

With the opening of the new community park on Farm-to-Market Road 2410, children have four new adult-size softball fields on which to play. The city can use Pioneer Park as a place to practice with back stops, Carpenter said.

The land is adjacent to South Nolan Creek from Summit Soccer Park and runs into some other city land, Carpenter said.

The city is scheduled to meet with Embarq in the next few weeks to close the deal, Carpenter said. The money for the land will be taken out of the capital improvements fund.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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