By Sean Wardwell

Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen's City Council expressed its thanks to Richard Skopik at Tuesday's regular meeting for all the work he's done to help the city secure $110 million in transportation funding.

Skopik is the Waco District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, and has been at the forefront of the city's efforts to widen U.S. Highway 190 and build an overpass at the intersection of State Highways 195 and 201.

"(These projects are) something we've been working toward for a long, long time," said Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper, who emphasized the safety benefits of both projects to area commuters.

"We knew it was time for us to act. We knew to get these projects funded was a long shot," said Cosper. "We could not have a better friend in Central Texas than Richard Skopik."

Skopik was presented with a city commemorative coin in thanks, along with a round of applause, which Councilman Juan Rivera said didn't go far enough.

"For $110 million, you get an ovation," said Rivera.

Skopik said he appreciated the recognition, but emphasized he was doing his job for this area. "All I can say is wow. I just feel it's my job to do my dead-level best for the communities I serve," said Skopik. "It's so critical we keep (U.S. Highway) 190 running as safely as we can."

The council also recognized the Killeen Fire Department for its work in "Care Enough to Wear Pink Days." Fire Chief Jerry Gardner presented each of the council members with a pink shirt, which they wore during the meeting.

Finally, the council reappointed Joel Steine, Johnny Frederick and Bobby Lee Hoover to the city's planning and zoning commission for another yearlong term.

Additionally, the council appointed Councilman Michael Lower to the city's sign ordinance, special events and airport expansion committees, as well as appointing him to serve on the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization. Councilman Terry Clark was appointed to the city's land use and development committee.

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