As Killeen and its neighboring cities continue to grow, parks and recreation departments are working to provide ample park space for residents.
With five park classifications in place, including community parks, neighborhood parks, pocket parks, linear parks and special-use facilities, Killeen plans to add one more category — regional parks.
Two regional parks proposed in the city’s comprehensive plan would double existing park space, with 777 acres. The Northwest Regional Park, a proposed 407 acres, is planned for the city’s northwestern perimeter.
City Manager Glenn Morrison said the goal is to stay ahead of the ever-growing population and keep park plans moving forward as development occurs.
“The southern corridor of our city is experiencing growth right now,” he said. “So there is a focus on providing recreational amenities in that area.”
With Killeen’s growth trending to the southern portion of the city, future parks will most likely follow that trend, said Brett Williams, city parks and recreation director.
“Public recreation is an essential element to every community,” he said. “The ability to take your family out to public parks and enjoy playgrounds, and open green space are key elements to convincing people to reside within the community and visit the community.”
Harker Heights’ parks and recreation department also works to stay ahead of population growth by offering plenty of green space for residents.
Jerry Bark, parks and recreation director, said Comanche Gap Park is the city’s next major park development.
In coming months, upgrades to existing walking trails at Carl Levin City Park will be made, along with upgrades to the 2410 Community Park.
Bark said the city is continuously monitoring park usage and making plans accordingly.
“Staff will continue to utilize the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan as a guide in future development of park properties,” he said.
Copperas Cove has plans to add to its existing seven parks.
Joseph Pace, city parks and recreation director, said the city is currently in the process of examining its capital improvement projects for 2015 through 2019, in which several park needs are addressed.
Pace said the projects are derived from the city’s parks needs assessment, which listed a multipurpose center, hike and bike trails, playground areas and pavilions as high priorities.
The capital improvement projects will be presented to the Copperas Cove City Council in April. The city is in the process of accepting a park from a home builder in the Skyline Flats Phase III area, which has a practice soccer field.
The parks department also would like to develop Ogletree Gap but has to wait for council direction, Pace said.