Killeen: Residents asked to weigh in on community improvements

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Killeen is giving its residents a chance to vote for what they want to improve in their community.

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

If money talks, the vote would also be a good gauge for city leaders to figure out residents' priorities.

The city has a Community Development Fund that determines how much money goes to projects that can improve the quality of life around the city.

The Community Development Department and the Community Development Advisory Committee will host planning meetings starting Wednesday in order to get public input for their 2019 Action Plan.

Citizens who show up can also get in on a new voting format.

"We're going to do interactive, digital, in real-time results," said Leslie Hinkle, Executive Director of Community Development.

"Everybody needs to bring their cellphone or tablet. It's not a requirement, but it'll be really neat. You can see the results in real time."

City leaders say usually around 30 to 50 people show up to the community meetings and make decisions that will affect thousands.

Based on previous years, Killeen could receive around $1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The money can fund just about anything, from afterschool programs to services for homeless veterans.

"The Community Development Block Grant Program is much more flexible. You can do some new construction for public facilities and improvements and also public services for those nonprofit agencies that are doing grassroots efforts in serving the community," says Hinkle.

Once the federal government decides a budget, service organizations, like the Girl Scouts will be to apply for funding and get to work on top poll results.

The Home Investment Partnership (HOME) programs also receive funding from HUD and can help put low-income housing in quality neighborhoods.

"The home program is strictly an affordable housing program so we can do new construction," adds Hinkle.

Killeen's city council discussed five new developments at Tuesday night's meeting that could get their support.

A public meeting on those properties is scheduled on Feb. 12.

To give input on the dollars going to community services, residents should attend one of the two community meetings being held at the City of Killeen Human Resources Training Room at 718 N. 2nd St., Suite B.

The first meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The second will be held at the same time on Feb. 21.