COPPERAS COVE—Before an overflowing crowd of about 50 residents, the Copperas Cove City Council decided Tuesday to proceed with its proposed, revised renovation to U.S. Business Highway 190.
Councilmen David Morris, Dan Yancey, Kirby Lack and Marc Payne voted in favor of the project. James Pierce Jr., Jay Manning and Charlie Youngs voted against the project.
“This decision comes from 13 months of agony,” Manning said, who was among most Cove Council members who voiced their own opinions on the project for the majority of Tuesday night’s meeting. “There’s a lot of emotion to this. It’s consuming all of you, and it’s consuming lots of us.”
An original plan proposed a lane reduction from Constitution Drive to Avenue D, down from three lanes to two lanes in each direction. Following criticism from both residents and councilmen, new plans include no lane reductions, but at the cost of a narrower sidewalk. The revisions cost the city an additional $72,000, which was also approved Tuesday night.
On Oct. 24, the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Planning Board will consider approving the new plans for Business 190 submitted by Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah on behalf of city council.
One day prior to Tuesday’s meeting, KTMPO officials indicated it’s not totally certain the board will accept the changes.
“Based upon public comments received, the policy board will approve the revisions or not at their Oct. 24 meeting … Not necessarily the majority’s opinion, but comments will be considered,” KTMPO Senior Planner Kendra Coufal told the Herald last week.
Haverlah, however, clarified Tuesday to council the city has the power to drop the project if the changes aren’t accepted.
“This city has the obligation to design the project,” Haverlah said. “I understand that this body would not as a majority approve this project if it was only two lanes in each direction … that’s my understanding. With that understanding and the responsibility I have to this community and to you … that project would stop immediately if KTMPO were to reject your amendment request.”
The 30 minutes allotted in the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting were not enough time for every resident who wanted to speak before city council. Councilmen had to urge the crowds multiple times to remain quiet.
“There’s always something to complain about in the name of progress,” said Silvia Rhodes with Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, who stood in favor of the project.
Negative comments followed from fellow residents.
“Let us vote. Let us be the voice,” said resident John Rose. “Let us make the decision.”