By Olga Pena
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS Leaving city hall behind, council members embarked on a tour to help guide them in making decisions that will affect development in Harker Heights for years to come.
"What we do now will really impact what the city will look like in 10 to 15 years," said city manager Steve Carpenter. "There are lots of opportunities and lots of challenges."
Taking a workshop on the road, Carpenter stood in the middle of the HOP bus giving a guided tour of some of the old and new areas of town that should be considered by council members as they draft the city's updated comprehensive plan.
Tuesday's two-hour tour of the city included considerable time spent looking at Comanche Land, which the city took over in 1988 and since overlaid its dirt roads with asphalt and added sewers.
Mayor Ed Mullen told the council it was important to look at the various types of buildings in the area and decide what codes should be put in place for further development all over the city.
"These are some of the issues we need to think about because the things we build now will last forever," Mullen said.
Indian Trail was another topic of discussion as Carpenter said the road is experiencing growth and high traffic, which could be a big project in the future.
Pointing out various roads that are "below standards," Carpenter told council members they needed to provide a guide for developers and city officials that include specifics like curbs and gutters.
"If you don't' like the appearance and want to make a change, you need to let us know," Carpenter said. "And put it in an ordinance."
Public Works Director Mark Hyde and Carpenter also showed council members areas like Fox Trail where flooding was a major issue.
Veterans Memorial Boulevard was part of the tour and Carpenter said the city was applying for a federal highway beautification grant and considering providing incentives for developers.
Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Bark highlighted some of the proposed ideas for developing four new city parks, including 61 acres on Knights Way, 14 acres on Beeline Road and Dana Peak Park, which is 723 acres that could be leased out to the city.
Dana Peak includes 15 miles of trails, a beach, boat dock, restaurants and RV campsites.
"It's a beautiful piece of land," Bark said. "We could open up the recreational end of it to a whole new spectrum."
A four-hour workshop was scheduled on Nov. 29 to work on the city's comprehensive plan.
"We just touched the surface of what is going on in the city," Carpenter said after the tour.
He said viewing some of Harker Heights' areas of major concern was the first step in developing an adequate comprehensive plan.
"This is probably, other than the budget, the most important thing we will do all year," Mullen said about the comprehensive plan.
Contact Olga Pena at email@example.com