MILITARY

BELTON — Central Texas local governments are rallying behind a proposed grant to improve roads on Fort Hood.

The Bell County Commissioners Court on Monday threw its support behind an application seeking a $5 million Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant. The commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with eight other local governments to seek the grant.

“The county has participated in the DEAAG grant applications with cities across the region the past two or three applications,” Bell County Judge David Blackburn said. “I think the (Commissioners Court) thinks it’s important to support Fort Hood and projects that benefit Fort Hood.”

The other entities participating are the cities of Belton, Temple, Killeen, Harker Heights, Gatesville and Copperas Cove as well as Coryell County and Fort Hood. Copperas Cove is the sponsor for the project.

The grant — if the state approves it — would be used to improve two ramps on west Fort Hood, Blackburn said: A northbound ramp from State Highway 9 onto Destroyer Boulevard, and a southbound ramp from Old Georgetown Road onto Highway 9.

The northbound ramp is estimated to cost $2.6 million while the southbound one has a price tag of $2.4 million, according to the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, the Killeen-based group organizing the grant application. The Texas Department of Transportation designed the project.

Each of the entities will split the local cost share of $621,187 based on their populations. Bell County agreed to fund $23,215.

Temple’s share is $23,231 while Belton’s part is $6,770.

The Belton City Council approved a resolution supporting the grant in October.

“The City Council is pleased to be a partner in this grant application for $5.1 million for Fort Hood access Ramps — State Highway 9 to Destroyer Boulevard, emphasizing our commitment to this regional partnership,” Belton City Manager Sam Listi said. “If successful, this will be the third grant application sought by (Heart of Texas Defense Alliance), making a real difference in enhancing the value of Fort Hood.”

Temple Assistant City Manager David Olson echoed Listi.

“These types of projects encourage the growth and sustainment of Fort Hood. As we have seen in the past, the growth of Fort Hood leads to the growth of the region and helps us all to prosper,” Olson said. “We support our soldiers, therefore we support this program.”

Killeen, the largest city in the group, will pay $45,424 — one of the bigger shares for the grant. Harker Heights’ share is $9,705; Gatesville’s is $3,755; and Coryell County’s is $9,086.

Copperas Cove will likely put $500,000 toward the local cost share of the grant — if its City Council agrees to do so.

Fort Hood has received Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant in the past. It received $4.8 million in 2017 for a digital security system for the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport. The military installation received a $5.3 million grant in 2015 to renovate the Fort Hood Radar Approach Control Facility.

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