| 2016 Heights Progress
2016 Heights Progress |
Inside this issue Harker Heights outlook
City road projects
City managerâ€™s welcome
Heights council overview
Mobility 2030 update
Sales tax outlook
Armed Services YMCA
New Street Signs
Seton Medical Center Harker Heights
2016 Heights Progress | A Harker Heights Herald publication. Find more news at harkerheightsherald.com. ON THE COVER: Cindy Davis and Tony Mino cut the ribbon to open the new ASYMCA wellness center in Harker Heights. Design by Amy Casto
| 2016 Heights Progress
Harker Heights officials continue to plan for city’s growth By rachael Riley Harker heights herald
Growth with a plan has been and continues to be a focus for Harker Heights officials. Although Harker Heights is landlocked by the cities of Killeen and Nolanville, Planning and Development Director Joseph Molis recognizes Knights Way and Stillhouse Lake Road are the primary growth corridors within the city. Residential and commercial growth is expected to proceed along Farm-toMarket 2410, toward Belton, Molis said. “We saw some explosive growth in the early 2000s, but it has slowed down,” he said. “We’re starting to reach the limits of our growth potential, because we are landlocked.” Between 2000 and 2010, Harker Heights grew in size by 45 percent, Molis said, in contrast to the modest 7 percent growth rate over the last five years. However, the city grew in January when about 155 acres was annexed, west of Farm-to-Market 3481 near Chaparral Road and west of Stillhouse Lake Road. City Manager David Mitchell said the city also continues to review ways to revitalize the Business 190, or Veterans Memorial Boulevard, corridor in the northern area of the city.
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Crews work outside Harker Heights City Hall, which is undergoing renovations and expansion.
“We hope to develop an overlay district that will encourage investment in that area,” Mitchell said. In presenting the planning and zoning commission’s annual report to the Harker Heights City Council in
February, chairman Michael Schulte highlighted a few of the committee’s accomplishments in 2015, which included helping staff with Section II of the city’s Mobility 2030 transportation plan that set a sidewalk ordinance in the
city and assisting with special studies — specifically a north-side revitalization study. “We’ve had workshops over the last few years, lots of discussion and it’s a really tough thing because that used to be the main entrance into Harker Heights, and now we’ve got Highway 190, and that’s pretty much taken care of itself now, and we’ve got the Knights Way Overlay,” Schulte said. Molis said an example for future focus is better access from Veterans Memorial Boulevard to U.S. Highway 190. The planning and zoning commission’s goals this year include continuing assisting with updating the city’s future land use map, assisting with ongoing sections of Mobility 2030 and examining other corridors in the city as potential overlay districts, which provides design standards and aesthetics, Schulte said. During a June town hall meeting, Mitchell said resident input is key, and city officials are looking to host a new round “Exploring New Heights” focus group meetings in the future. Prior Exploring New Heights meetings have taken resident comments and ideas to help set future city objectives. “We want to hear from residents, and understand things and expectations change,” Mitchell said. firstname.lastname@example.org | 254-501-7553
2016 Heights Progress |
Several road projects ongoing in Harker Heights By Gloria Heredia and rachael Riley HARKER HEIGHTS HERALD
With orange signs and cones in roads and streets, Harker Heights has gone through various construction projects throughout the course of the year— many finished, and others close to being finished. Harker Heights City Manager David Mitchell, expressed his overall satisfaction with the completion and progress of the ongoing construction, despite delays caused by heavy rain early in the year. “Comanche Gap Road, Amy Lane and Cedar Knob Road are all substantially complete. Contractors continue to work on a number of punch-list items on each of these roadways,” Mitchell said. “Each of these projects experienced delays due to the wet weather we experienced early in 2016. I am pleased with the overall progress given the weather delays that the contractors had to deal with.”
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ABOVE: Construction on Comanche Gap Road is seen June 9 in Harker Heights. The project was finished July 15 at a cost of about $2.66 million for two 28-foot-wide lanes and a 10-foot-wide sidewalk. BELOW: An employee does construction work on Amy Lane in February.
Flats, the housing development under construction that came in to utilize this as one of the access points. Hyde said the project is completed. Awarded: Dec. 8, 2015 Cost: $523,650 Contractors: Gary W. Purser Construction Co.
Comanche gap road
On July 15, the Comanche Gap Road project was finished. The project consisted of widening two lanes from 24 feet to 27 feet on Comanche Gap Road with 10-foot sidewalks on the east side. Street culvert crossing improvements were made, along with an extending 300-feet of 6-inch sanitary sewer line across the road to serve the Comanche Gap Park. The project began on June 2015, and initially was expected to be completed in early March; however, due to severe weather, the project was delayed. Mitchell said the road has met the desired expectations from its grand opening a couple of weeks ago. “We now have a slightly wider and safer roadway that will provide residents and visitors to Dana Peak Park with many years of good service. The 10-foot-wide hike/bike trail is a wonderful quality-of-life asset as well,” Mitchell said. Cost: $2.66 million Contractors: TTG Utilities
Public Works Director Mark Hyde
COMMERCIAL AND HEIGHTS DRIVES
said the purpose of the Amy Lane was to improve drainage, street width and also create an access street for Market Heights. “The drainage was improved, we have underground storm drainage, we have curb and gutter in the streets where we previously did not, and the street itself is 29 feet wide,” Hyde said. Hyde said the plan called for sidewalks; however, costs exceeded the budget and sidewalks will be placed sometime this year. Hyde said overall, the project is substantially complete and traffic is utilizing the road. Awarded: Feb. 10, 2015
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Cost: About $2.3 million Expected to be completed by: midAugust Contractors: McLean Construction Co.
The four-way intersection at Commercial Drive and Heights Drive will change to be a roundabout to ease traffic that backs up along Commercial Drive to Farm-to-Market 2410. Hyde said that at the moment, officials are working out details with the various property owners and hope to have all of the items of discussion resolved within the next few weeks. “The roundabout makes the most sense to keep traffic moving and reducing traffic in 2410.” Cost: $440,373
cedar knob road
FM 2410/3481 project
The purpose for this project was to realign Cedar Knob Road with Vineyard Trail. “The old intersection with Chaparral Road was a dangerous intersection and when we aligned it with Vineyard Trail. Now it is a straight-forward intersection and much safer,” Hyde said. The other reason was Stillhouse
Signal and pedestrian improvements to the intersection of Farm-to-Market 2410 and FM 3481 started in October 2015 and was completed in June this year, Hyde said. To prepare for the project in advance, the city invested about $96,000 to relocated utilities along FM 2410. The city also invested $759,000 for con-
struction, $150,000 for Prospector Trail and FM 3481 signal work and $353,952 for bid costs exceeding estimates. TxDOT paid $240,020 for construction and $147,000 for engineering and inspection. Another $310,500 was covered by federal funds. The project was designed to increase safety at the intersection of FM 2410 and FM 3481, which is located near Harker Heights High School and the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, officials said. Width was added to the intersection along with a continuous turn lane, from Pinewood Drive through the FM 2481 intersection to Prospector Trail and a new traffic signal at the Prospector Trail intersection.
Coral and Cottonmouth Streets
Improvements to Coral and Cottonmouth streets will begin in the upcoming months, to include roadway, water and wastewater improvements. “It includes replacing the waterline, replacing the sanitation sewer line, drainage improvements and constructing a new street on Coral,” Hyde said. Awarded: June 28, 2016 Cost: $569,892
uled for completion this fall.
PENDING: FM 2410
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The city of Harker Heights set the ground for TxDOT to begin working on the FM 2410 project this fall. Roberts said crews will probably begin construction in the October-to-November time frame. The project consists of widening two lanes to four lanes with a continuous left lane to reduce congestion and enhance future safety from Roy Reynolds (Killeen) to Commercial Drive. The estimated cost is $6.7 million and it is expected to be finished in 18 months, weather permitting.
A new 10-foot-wide sidewalk, part of the Comanche Gap Roadway and Pedestrian Improvement Project construction, is seen on Comanche Gap Road in Harker Heights on June 9.
PENDING: U.S. 190
Texas Department of Transportation representative, Ken Roberts, said at the moment, there is one ongoing project expected to be finished this fall and two future projects pending.
ONGOING: U.S. Highway 190
The $9.5 million project to increase capacity to U.S. Highway 190 from W.S. Young (Killeen) to FM 2410 (Heights) started June 2014, adding an inside trav-
el lane in both the east and westbound directions of U.S. 190. Also, culverts and other bridges are being upgraded and widened to accommodate the additional lanes and a concrete traffic barrier will be added between opposing travel lanes. The project was temporarily put on hold due to the Rosewood project of the city of Killeen. Once the Rosewood project was finished in late 2015, TxDOT resumed the paused construction in January this year. The project is sched-
Future projects for early 2018 include increasing capacity from four lanes to six lanes, both eastbound and westbound, on U.S. Highway 190 from FM 2410 to just west of Paddy Hamilton Road in Nolanville. The projected start date is spring 2018, but depending on the contractor’s schedule, it could start sooner or later. The estimated cost is $19 million and possibly finished within 18 months of the start date. email@example.com | 254-501-7464
2016 Heights Progress |
Harker Heights continues to grow and prosper Dear Fellow Citizens, It is a pleasure to again report to you on Harker Heights, and to thank the city staff and employees for their dedicated service. Our reputation as a fine place to live is justly earned. Harker Heights continues to grow and prosper in an orderly manner, and to provide quality services to our citizens and neighbors. We are benefiting from the careful implementation of the “Design Goals, Guidelines and Standards, contained in the FM 2410 Development Overlay District.” Some of our accomplishments over the past year include the opening of the Armed Services YMCA, which is located on Mountain Lion Road adjacent to Purser Family Park — what an achievement! Additionally, a Taco Bell opened on FM 2410, as did numerous other businesses throughout the city. Unfortunately, some businesses have closed, but new uses have quickly taken up the gaps.
We look forward with enthusiasm as we continue to strive to make Harker Heights an ever better place to live, work, play, and raise our families. Road construction was completed on Pecan Drive and Amy Lane. The rebuild of Comanche Gap Road, which includes a hiking and biking path adjacent to the east, was celebrated in early July. Work on the FM 2410 bridge over U.S. Highway 190 continues in fits and starts, and is slated for completion this fall. Work on relocation of underground utilities is well underway on a part of FM 2410 located between Roy Reynolds (city limits) and the bridge over U.S. 190. Once that work in completed, widening of that road segment will begin this fall.
An expansion project to provide more space in City Hall and the Recreation Center will conclude this fall. A new development, Stillhouse Flats, just north of our Fire Station No. 2, is underway. A new connection between Cedar Knob Road, and Stillhouse Lake Road, is complete. We are continuing to study and determine how and what improvements are to be done for the “North Side” of our town. That is the area generally north of U.S. 190. There are many opportunities for improvement and beautification, particularly on and about Business 190 (Veterans Memorial Boulevard). This is a chal-
lenge and will be pursued. I have said many times and at many occasions, that I encourage public involvement and participation in our city council workshops and meetings, as I also encourage caring citizens to apply for our volunteer boards and commissions. Announcement of vacancies are published in late summer. Applications are available year-round at City Hall. The city lost an outstanding councilman this spring, as Pat Christ met term limits. Spencer Smith, who has previously served, was elected. Jody Nicholas became mayor pro tem for this year. We look forward with enthusiasm as we continue to strive to make Harker Heights an ever better place to live, work, play and raise our families. Thank you for the opportunity to serve Harker Heights. Sincerely, Rob Robinson Mayor
Heights committed to providing outstanding service to residents Dear Heights Residents, Businesses and Visitors: The city of Harker Heights continued its commitment to providing outstanding service over this past year. The city’s Vision Statement is as follows: Providing public services that empower people to focus on what matters most — their goals, hopes and dreams. Our staff firmly believes people have a choice in where to live, locate a business, or visit and we want to honor that choice by providing outstanding service. During the past year, a number of roadway projects were completed, including: Amy Lane, Pecan Drive, a turn lane on FM 2410 at Highland Oaks, Comanche Gap Road, street maintenance to Memory Lane, Caroline and Millers Crossing, improvements to FM 3481, and the realignment of Cedar Knob Road. Funding was acquired to widen FM 2410 from U.S. Highway 190 to Roy Reynolds Drive and to widen U.S. 190 to add an additional east and west lane from the western city limits to Indian Trail. The 2410 widening project is scheduled to begin in late 2016 and relocation of utilities is
already underway. The U.S. 190 widening is expected to begin in 2017. Roadways were just one area of focus, as the City had numerous other infrastructure projects. The City completed the trunk sewer line out to the east along FM 2410 this past year. This project will provide wastewater service out to around Levy Crossing. The City has other projects aimed at maintaining or improving the City’s existing infrastructure system such as improvements to lift stations, wastewater treatment plant, and pump station maintenance and painting. We are excited about the future of Harker Heights. A number of publications over the years have ranked us favorably for being a great place for families. We are always seeking to provide an even greater level of service for our residents, businesses and visitors. New projects such as additional sidewalks
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and trails combined with our exceptional parks and library programs will continue to provide outlets for those that live here or visit. Demand for housing in Heights remained steady over the past year with 176 single-family permits being pulled over the past year. Residential duplex development accounted for 18 more permits. Stillhouse Flats, a 96-unit multifamily project, is under construction off of FM 3481. Commercially, the city has had almost $2,500,000 in reported commercial permit activity over the past 12 months. Obviously, we have much to be proud of as a city. This would not be possible without the support of our City Council and our amazing volunteer force! To all who volunteer, your City staff thanks you! We encourage all citizens to get involved. Attend Council meetings, participate in a board or commission or volunteer in other ways throughout the community. Harker Heights has a special story. Be a part of it with us! Sincerely, David R. Mitchell City Manager
Smith returns to Heights council, enjoys representing residents By Bob Massey Herald Correspondent
Harker Heights City Councilman Spencer Smith says he enjoys being on the City Council. Smith, 65, was elected to his first term in May 2009 and served as a councilman until 2015. He left the council for about a year and then filed for the position vacated by Pat Christ, who was term-limited. Smith was unopposed and returned to the council in May. Growing up in New Jersey, he was a Boy Scout and says that what he learned in Scouts is still
“I make appearances in the community, in neighboring cities and on Fort Hood,” Smith said. Smith believes in the importance of working with city staff prior to public meetings and educating himself on the issues from each agenda. Mayor Rob Robinson said, “I know Spencer goes a step beyond of what’s expected. He does his homework prior to the meetings and communicates with the staff regularly so there are no surprises.” Smith said, “I don’t believe in tossing hardball questions at the staff during a meeting. We talk often and are on the same playing field.”
Schiffman starts second three-year term as Place 1 councilman By Bob Massey Herald Correspondent
Hal Schiffman, Place 1 representative on the Harker Heights City Council, is serving a second three-year term that expires May 2019. He has lived in Harker Heights for 24 years. “I have a great appreciation for our community and have observed quality growth and development during that time,” Schiffman said. Schiffman ran for the position of
what he is interested in today. Smith’s first exposure to city government was the six years he spent on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. “I thought it was interesting and it let me see the vision of the city. I also learned some of those governmental “buzz” words,” Smith said. As a councilman, there is much more to do besides meeting several times a month at City Hall, he noted.
city councilman because he desired to contribute to that progress, he said. His prior service to local government was on the Board of Zoning Adjustments and the “Exploring New Heights II” committee. It convinced him that serving on the City Council was the best way to continue serving his community.
“My past work experience of 33 years as general manager of various sized enclosed shopping malls, with 15 of those years being the Killeen Mall, prepared me and put me on point of issues that face a city,” Schiffman said. Schiffman believes the major issue facing Harker Heights is long-term economic sustainability. “The time will come in the not-toodistant future when we will be landlocked and unable to annex additional areas. The inability to grow and de-
velop means revenue will plateau. We must continue to put the critical infrastructure in place that will establish that economic viability and quality of life,” Schiffman said. Schiffman said the present government is doing a responsible job of managing the growth in the community. “The presence of Market Heights, Seton Hospital, Sam’s Club, various new financial institutions and WalMart Community Market speaks to the positive growth,” Schiffman said.
Learn more about Harker Heights services at www.ci.harker-heights.tx.us
2016 Heights Progress |
Pieces of Mobility 2030 plan already in place across Harker Heights By Gloria Heredia Harker Heights Herald
Mobility 2030 — a plan to ease traffic and create alternative transportation routes in Harker Heights — remains on the list of future projects, but some aspects of the plan already have been implemented around the city. Mobility 2030 is an update to the city’s 2007 comprehensive plan that observes transportation challenges and needs for current residents and future generations. The ordinance for Mobility 2030 was signed in May 2014. Planning Director Joseph Molis said Mobility 2030 is a five-part plan to improve transportation for automobiles and pedestrians. The five sections include a thoroughfare component plan, a sidewalk plan, an off-street hike and bike trail network, an on-street striping plan for biking and pedestrians and lastly, mass transit planning. Section I of the city’s Mobility 2030 plan was adopted by the City Council in May 2014. “We want to show how cars can travel to the city, but also how people can go by other means — by walking, by biking, by taking the bus. It is an integrated network that is going to try to show the connection between all of those, not only within the city, but within the surrounding areas as well,” Molis said. Section II of the plan was adopted by City Council in October 2015. The section “codifies” the current and future sidewalk network envisioned, Molis said. So far, Molis said, the thoroughfare component and sidewalk plans are
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A construction crew works on sewer lines June 23 in the 600 block of West Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights. Heights’ city council approved a $1.33 million contract for a utility project between FM 2410 and South Roy Reynolds Drive. Included in the sewer project bid was an alternate bid to loop a 6-inch water line from FM 2410 to the intersection of Roy Reynolds Drive and Briarwood Lane.
completed. “What we are doing is that we are working on each section at a time. We completed the thoroughfare plan, which shows how we want our streets to develop over the next several years,” Molis said. A draft has already been submitted and approved by the council. However, the overall plan is still pending modifications being made to other sections with new updates. “We need to get together with HOP
10 | 2016 Heights Progress
and finalize the mass transit plan for the city, and when that’s done, we will be able to make recommendations when somebody comes in that wants to put in a development, whether it is a business or subdivisions,” Molis said. Even though this extensive project remains in planning, the impact of its plan can be seen in recent road construction such as the Cedar Knob realignment, the sidewalks added to Comanche Gap Road and the measurements for Amy Lane Road.
“Mobility 2030, showed Amy Lane as a major thoroughfare, so that’s part of what dictated how wide the road was and all those sidewalks that were not put in were designed into the overall project so that later we can put sidewalks,” Molis said. “The sidewalk we put in on Comanche Gap Road is also part of the sidewalk network for mobility 2030.” Rachael Riley contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org | 254-501-7464
Sales tax collections start to level off as fewer big businesses open By Artie Phillips Harker Heights Herald
Harker Heights has collected almost $3.8 million in sales tax in the first six months of 2016, which is $14,199 less than the city collected last year at this time, according to documents released by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Month-by-month sales tax revenue allocations show decreases in the $1,000 to $14,000 range compared to correlating months. Only March and May saw increases in sales tax revenue. “Overall, sales tax is flat because the city has not received any new substantial businesses within this past year since Sam’s and the Neighborhood Wal-Mart,” Harker Heights Finance Director Alberta Barrett said. “The city has anticipated that our sales tax revenues would flatten out or level off, and we are here.” In January, the city received $493,904 in sales tax allocations, a 1.17 percent drop from January 2015. In February, the city also experienced a decrease from the previous year’s sales tax revenue, albeit a smaller one. The city received $737,402 this year, a 0.52 percent drop from the $741,223 received in 2015. In March, the city received $452,333 compared to $446,522, a 1.3 percent increase from the same time last year. April’s reporting was $488,129, down 0.22 percent compared to last year’s $489,189 for the same period. May’s sales tax total was up 2.01 percent with $664,367 compared to the $651,278 in sales tax received last year; June brought in $470,206, a 2.91 percent increase from $484,286; July’s reporting
“Overall, sales tax is flat because the city has not received any new substantial businesses within this past year. ... The city has anticipated that our sales tax revenues would flatten out or level off and we are here.” Alberta Barrett Harker Heights finance director was a 1.66 percent decrease at $490,132, compared to $498,401.
According to Barrett, the reason May showed such a marked increase
this year compared to other months is because “it is a quarterly payment” period, resulting in more sales tax revenue being distributed across the state. Both Mitchell and Barrett said the city will remain conservative in budgeting sales tax for the remainder of fiscal year 2016 at $6.8 million, which is 3 percent more than the fiscal year 2015. “In relation to our original budget, we are anticipating the projected sales tax revenues to be approximately $400,000 less (than where we are at now), which is about the same amount of revenues as the city received in the prior year,” Barrett said.
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Residential growth on track to outpace 2015 By Artie Phillips Harker Heights Herald
The population of Harker Heights is has reached approximately 29,700, and the city’s residential market continues to grow along with it. From July through December of last year, 98 residential building permits were issued; from January through June of this year, 78 building permits were issued for residential homes, with the city set to easily surpass the 200 total residential permits issued. “Residential growth continues at a good pace,” said David Mitchell, Harker Heights city manager. “A slightly slower pace was expected this year given the number of lots available for construction.” The city population has been shifting since last year, bringing in younger families in need of multifamily housing. Many young families are coming in to the area because of Fort Hood, and are choosing to settle in to Harker Heights. In order to accommodate this need, the city has also issued a number of residential permits for duplex housing. Last year, the city granted six residential permits for duplexes. It is only halfway through this year, and the city has already granted 12 duplex permits. Mitchell said, “Many of the larger residential areas have already developed. Many of the remaining areas will be smaller developments due to property size or topography.” The city has also expanded its extraterritorial jurisdiction, having completed the “trunk sewer line” project on FM 2410 that began last year.
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Crews work on the Stillhouse Flats apartment complex. The 96-unit complex is being built off Stillhouse Lake Road in Harker Heights.
“This will give the city wastewater capacity out to around Levy Crossing,” Mitchell said. “Enhancing the city’s infrastructure will continue to be a key focus of the city.” The trunk sewer line will make the area less rural and will open up the
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possibility of bringing in more retail businesses off FM 2410 heading toward Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Mitchell added a live-in retirement community could be in the works there in the future. “The city is known as a ‘family-friend-
ly’ community and as such will continue to have demand for housing,” Mitchell said. “We desire to provide services at a level that lets our citizens focus on what is important to them — their goals, hopes and dreams.”
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ABOVE: Crews work on the Stillhouse Flats apartment complex. The 96-unit complex is being constructed off Stillhouse Lake Road. BELOW: New homes are being built in several parts of the city.
â€œMany of the larger residential areas have already developed. Many of the remaining areas will be smaller developments due to property size or topography.â€? David Mitchell Harker Heights city manager
2016 Heights Progress | 13
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ABOVE: Taco Bell opened in Harker Heights in September at 521 E. FM 2410. TOP: Stores in Market Heights continue to bring sales tax revenue to the city. AT LEFT: Texas Partners Federal Credit Union Branch Manager Klaudia Conley, center, holds a pair of scissors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony with bank employees and members of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce at 701 W. Central Texas Expressway in Harker Heights.
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Heights chamber plans events, serves 800 members By Bob Massey Herald Correspondent
The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce currently maintains a membership of over 800 members, and it continues to improve services to its membership. “The services we provide are to help businesses grow, such as providing marketing tools, training, the “Keeping It Local” shopping campaign and marketing not just within Harker Heights but in the region,” said Gina Pence, president and CEO of the chamber. “We want visitors coming to the city to know what’s available. “We are also a Chamber Visitor Bureau and promote tourism throughout the city including a plethora of choices such as lakes, recreation, sports, parks and many more,” Pence said. Concerning tourism efforts by the chamber, a partnership with Texas Monthly magazine has produced not only the placing of an ad in the magazine for August promoting the Harker Heights Food, Wine and Brew Festival but also the publication of an online story in late August or early September. The Food, Wine and Brew Fest will be Sept. 10, from 4 to 10 p.m., at the Heights Community Park on Farm-to-Market 2410. H-E-B has also made a huge commitment to the festival by selling tickets to the event at every store in Texas.
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Derek Bannasch and his two sons James, 5, and Andy, 4, all of Fort Hood, wait for free samples at Chick-fil-A’s booth at the annual Harker Heights Food, Wine and Brew Festival last September at the city’s Community Park. This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Vendors for the event have been told to prepare this year for a crowd of 5,000. “Tourism that’s come to our area this
year has had an economic impact of $1 million because of teaming with our regional partners,” Pence said.
The chamber sponsors three programs that promote leadership and partnership in the community. The Junior Ambassador program involves students from Harker Heights High School. The Ambassador program consists of business leaders. They are often referred to as the welcoming committee and do much more than attend ribbon cuttings. The Vision XXI Class builds partnerships between civic leaders and organizations that support the business infrastructure. The group also develops a class project. In addition to Pence, the Chamber staff includes Michelle Kratzenberg, office manager; Jodi Bailey, business development; and Mary Shabunia, retention specialist. “The chamber is a thriving and serving resource due to the hard work of the entire staff but Mary’s job is unique and was created to keep existing members as active partners,” Pence said. Shabunia reaches out to members and personally asks them what their needs are and if they have ideas that would improve what the chamber is trying to achieve. Pence said, “This program is only a few months old and is already producing positive results.” For more information, call the chamber at 254-699-4999 or go to www. hhchamber.com.
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Business development focused around smaller commercial lots By Artie Phillips Harker Heights Herald
Harker Heights has built several new commercial buildings over the past year. Halfway through 2016, the city has a total permit value of $2.48 million, a significant drop compared to $17.1 million in 2015. “With most of the larger commercial lots in Harker Heights already developed, the city continues to see strong interest in development of smaller commercial lots,” City Manager David Mitchell said. This year, the new business that brought in high numbers of visitors is the YMCA that recently completed construction at 100 Mountain Lion. The permit for the YMCA was valued at nearly $13 million. Also, O’Reilly Auto Parts applied for a commercial permit valued at $750,000, for a building located at 525 E. Knights Way. O’Reilly’s, a Sleep Number shell building, and a new Taco Bell were the primary contributors to commercial growth in the past year. The new Sleep Number building is at 300 E. Central Texas Expressway, and a commercial permit was issued in February. The new Taco Bell is located at 521 E. Farm-to-Market 2410/Knights Way, and the construction permit, valued at $450,000, was purchased in September. “The city expects demand for commercial lots to remain strong,” Mitchell said. “This is demonstrated in the permits that have been pulled since July 2015.”
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O’Reilly Auto Parts applied for a commercial permit valued at $750,000 at 525 E. Knights Way.
NEW BUSINESSES IN HARKER HEIGHTS Date finished
521 E. FM 2410
Mechanic Shop (Old Carwash)
109 W. VMB
Stillhouse Flats (Clubhouse)
2926 Cedar Knob Road
Sleep Number Shell Building
300 E. CTE
O’Reilly Auto Parts
525 E. Knights Way
Morgan Street Office Building
326 Morgan St.
Mitchell surmised the addition of medical businesses and office space to the Heights market over the past
year ‘contributed to a rise in “young professionals” relocating to town. Aside from Seton Medical Center,
Call 254-501-7500 (Killeen) or 254-778-4444 (Temple) 16 | 2016 Heights Progress
a number of medical service-related businesses joined the Heights economy in the past year, including the Metroplex Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine located at East Central Texas Expressway and Rosewood Drive. While technically in Killeen, the wound care center has many staff members and patients from Harker Heights. Heights officials are taking a proactive approach to attracting new businesses. The city partnered with The Retail Coach in April 2015, a company devoted to assessing city demographics and marketing these cities to national retailers in hopes of drawing in new retail businesses.
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Richard Rawlings’ Garage, a restaurant currently under construction, is seen July 1 in Harker Heights. The restaurant is located in the building was once Twin Peaks.
“The city expects demand for commercial lots to remain strong. This is demonstrated in the permits that have been pulled since July 2015.” David Mitchell Harker Heights city manager A+ Federal Credit Union is one of the newest banking facilities in Harker Heights.
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Armed Services YMCA facility meets city’s recreational needs By Val Valdez Herald Correspondent
Since the new Armed Services YMCA wellness center opened in late March, it has already reached a major goal, said Cindy Davis, Armed Services YMCA fundraising chairwoman. “We reached our projected goal for a year of 2,750 memberships in the first two months,” Davis said. This fact doesn’t surprise Davis, given the positive comments from the members. “People just love this facility and some don’t even want to leave,” she joked. Fundraising is an ongoing issue, Davis said. As of now, 42 names line the lobby wall of founders, donors and partners. It takes a minimum donation of $10,000 to get a name listed on the wall, and some corporations spread out their donation over a three- to five-year period, leaving a gap to fill. “We are hoping to raise an additional $600,000 by the end of this year through corporate sponsorships and grants, and then in 2017, raise $500,000 or more,” she said. At a cost of $13 million, the 54,000square-foot wellness center, at 110 Mountain Lion Road, fills the needs for the growing community, Davis added. Armed Services YMCA Executive Director Tony Mino said the memberships far exceeded expectations. “We knew that we would do well, but the response went beyond what we thought,” Mino said. “That encourages us to work hard to make the center more enjoyable for the folks that use it.” Among the facilities members can use include a supervised child watch area for ages 6 months and older; the Olympic-size pool’s temperature is set at 81 degrees, while the therapy pool for water exercise is a bit warmer at 88 degrees. Each pool also has a chair lift for people with mobility issues. Men’s, women’s and family locker rooms with showers lead to the pools. Additionally, three family changing rooms with a shower are available. A café offers healthier food options, like chicken wraps and protein smoothies. Volleyball, pickleball and dodgeball are some of the sports played in the
Buy these photos at kdhnews.com PHOTOS BY Amy Proctor AND Eric J. Shelton | Herald
ABOVE: One of two pools are on the bottom floor of the new Armed Services YMCA wellness center. The 54,000-square-foot facility is at 110 Mountain Lion Road in Harker Heights. BELOW: A plaque at the ASYMCA honors the late Ron Taylor.
main gym. On level two is an indoor walking track; weight, exercise and cardio equipment and stationary bikes. The
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center has three exercise studios for classes, such as yoga, spin, Pilates, Zumba and a TRX system. YMCA staff are always on hand to
give instruction, like Wayne Lewis, a certified personal trainer who teaches the Boot Camp. Before the center opened, he used the facilities on Fort Hood, but now everything he needs is under one roof. “It means a lot to the community to have this new center, and people really love the variety of classes here,” Lewis said. The center has been so successful that recently three more spin classes were added and more bikes ordered; the Zumba class was moved to a larger room and another meeting room had to handle the overflow from the child watch room. Cody Cosper, 12, worked on the weight machine while his mom, Teresa Cosper, watched him. They enjoy the relaxed, stress-free environment. “It’s so nice and peaceful here, and if you need help, just ask someone,” Teresa Cosper said. “This center has been needed in this area for a long time.”
Buy these photos at kdhnews.com Photos by Amy Proctor | Herald
The Armed Services YMCA opened its wellness center on Mountain Lion Drive in Harker Heights in March. The facility includes a variety of workout equipment.
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Harker Heights adds new street signs along Knights Way By Rachael Riley Harker Heights Herald
Early this year, the city installed new, larger street signs along Farmto-Market 2410. The silver-colored signs, bearing Harker Heights High School’s “H” crest and the city’s star logo, started popping up in January. Public Works Director Mark Hyde said 52 of the new 9-inch by 48-inch and 9-inch by 42-inch signs were installed along Farm-to-Market 2410, or Knights Way, from the eastern city limit line to the western city limit line. “Street signs have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, depending on the location,” Hyde said. Smaller, red signs throughout the city were installed in 2001, faded and in need of replacement, he said. According to the city’s fiscal year 2015-2016 budget for the city’s sign shop, which falls under the street
department, replacing faded street signs was identified as an objective for this budget cycle. The average cost for two street name signs, with hardware, is about $120, Hyde said. The new signs, designed by David Land, the city’s street sign technician, meet Texas Department of Transportation standards for various speed limits posted along FM 2410, Hyde said. According to standards, the font size must be 6-inch uppercase letters and 4.5-inch lowercase letters on signs along FM 2410 within city limits. “Smaller signs with smaller fonts are difficult for emergency services to identify,” Hyde said. The smaller red and white signs will remain on streets with speed limits 30 miles per hour or less, he said.
Buy this photo at kdhnews.com Eric J. Shelton | Herald
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New street signs are seen at the intersection of Forest Hills Drive and Knights Way.
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Seton Medical Center makes strides in its fourth year By Abbey Sinclair Herald correspondent
For every patient who has entered Seton Medical Center Harker Heights over the past four years — from its opening in June 2012 to present day — the hospital’s vision has remained the same. “We strive to bring a higher level of patient service and experience to health care here in this community, along with the best of quality,” said Maxfield CEO Matt Maxfield. “We are pleased that in the last four years, we have been able to continue to grow in our services and meet this mission.” Throughout the year, Seton has maintained its four-star rating from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a survey which measures patient satisfaction on a quarterly basis. Patient visits have remained steady from 2014, when the hospital experienced more than 75,000 outpatient visits, 50,000 emergency room visits and 6,500 surgical procedures. The women’s center saw a 16 percent increase in deliveries over the past year. In December 2015, Seton was designated as a level-four trauma center. Additionally, the hospital received its chest pain accreditation, a privilege that come with rigorous requirements, including extensive documentation. “Maintaining accreditations isn’t easy — a lot of paperwork is involved for every patient seen — but we keep up with these high standards, and are very proud of that,” said Director of Marketing Melissa Purl. The hospital hopes to gain its stroke accreditation by the end of the year, and will open its Wound Care and Hyperbaric Clinic (complete with two hyperbaric oxygen chambers for wound healing) toward the end of October, Maxfield stated. “These measures signify to patients, the community and emergency medical service workers that we are always providing the highest level of care,” he said. Additionally, Seton now offers total
Herald | FILE
ABOVE: Throughout the year, Seton Medical Center Harker Heights has maintained its four-star rating from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a survey that measures patient satisfaction on a quarterly basis. BELOW: Seton is partnering with the ASYMCA to offer physical, occupational and speech therapy at the new wellness center on Mountain Lion Road.
knee and hip replacements. Comprehensive bariatric (gastric sleeve) surgeries have also been underway for several months, said Maxfield. Come fall, he said, the medical center will likewise be extending its cardiac rehabilitation program. Another positive for the hospital is its new medical clinic tailored to men, officially opened at the close of 2015. The clinic offers male patients fast one-hour “concierge” appointments to address common issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and prostate disease. Once seen, recommendations are advised for each patient, and any necessary follow-up appointments scheduled. The hospital’s fourth year also brings big developments that have long since been in the works, Purl said. Such initiatives include the MDsave program,
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a lifesaver for patients who must pay out-of-pocket — saving such individuals an average of 60 percent on health care costs. “MDsave is basically an Expedia for health care,” Maxfield explained. “It is self-pay and mainly for patients who are uninsured or face high deductibles. It is a very price transparent program — no surprise bills.” Wellness Works is another program Seton is excited about, Maxfield noted. Through this initiative, local businesses and corporations partner with Seton and are provided with health education, job safety, medical care and more. With new doctor Matthew Altman of Occupational and Environmental Medicine on staff, services include onsite occupational health consultations, dietary services, drug testing and flu shots, in addition to regular health care
for employees. “By partnering together,” Maxfield stated, “both parties keep costs down and employees can get back to work faster.” Another program that has been in the works for the past four to five years, Purl said, is Seton’s physical, occupational and speech therapy services now being offered at the new Armed Services YMCA in Harker Heights. With 2,500 feet of space set aside for Seton, the area serves as the hospital’s first outpatient therapy location. Alongside their therapists, patients will be able to utilize the gym’s exercise equipment and therapy pool. In addition, YMCA members will be able to take advantage of Seton’s wellness programs beginning Aug. 4 — food demos, cooking classes and fitness/wellness programs. One year shy of Seton’s fifth anniversary, Maxfield and Purl estimate that the medical establishment has already exceeded its estimated economic impact within a five-year time period (according to a previous study conducted by the city of Harker Heights.) Seton is expected to have an impact of approximately $1.5 billion within a 10-year time period. Seton Medical Center Harker Heights is at 850 W. Central Texas Expressway Go to www.setonharkerheights.net for more information.
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