I answer that question several times a month, sometimes several times a week. “What do you see happening with this town in the future?”
I love answering this question. Now mind you, I’m no psychic and I’m not an authority on the grand macro-economic tides of municipal, statewide, and national growth patterns. But that being said, I am a guy who’s been in business in this town for over twenty years. That, along with my involvement with the Chamber of Commerce (Director), the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors (President-Elect), and the Central Texas Homebuilder’s Association (past President), gives me a pretty good idea of what we’re looking at.
First, we have to take into account that 1,400 people a day are moving to Texas. This is flooding our state with new residents looking for work and opportunity. The population growth forces many changes in infrastructure such as new and wider roads, more schools, and municipal services. It also bolsters commerce and invites new businesses to the state. All in all it’s a very good thing.
I’ll keep it brief, but allow me to share some great facts about this much-maligned city and what I see as a rosy future indeed:
- The widening of Hwy 190 will be complete in August of 2015, at a total cost of around $60 million.
- The installation of the Rosewood exit on Hwy 190 will also be complete in August at a cost of about $24 million.
- Both of these projects have been pushed through in preparation for the rededication of Highway 190 to an Interstate (I-19). While I would be safe here and say this is rumored, I’ve heard that rumor from several credible sources. Businesses like Gander Mountain don’t build new stores on state highways very often. The presence of an Interstate Highway in your city brings about a whole new level of economic development.
- Other road projects include the extension of Elms Road, the widening of Trimmier, the impending widening of WS Young, and the completely revamped Stagecoach Road. You can’t drive through this town without seeing a road being improved or a new road being paved.
We have yet to see the effects of the new Darnall Hospital. A new Walmart is coming to the corner of 38th Street and Rancier, on the northside of town which hasn’t seen a new major business in years. La Cascata Shopping Center (10 acres) will break ground very soon adjacent to the old airport and Stone Tree Golf Club. An enormous shopping and dining development that will bring hundreds of jobs and produce millions in tax revenues.
This level of unprecedented growth doesn’t just happen by accident. National franchises don’t invest millions of dollars on a guess. Our little town (current population 137,147 by the way) isn’t so little anymore, and with every passing day the City of Killeen becomes a bigger dot on the map.
Without a crystal ball, without a PHD in economics, I feel that I can safely say that this community is going to be a solid investment for years to come. I look forward to watching it happen and being a part of the blossoming of Killeen, Texas.
Michael E. Linnemann