The Killeen City Council is embarking on a visit to the Dallas area to conduct tours of various city halls. This initiative comes as they consider the possibility of a bond election to fund the construction of a new Killeen City Hall.
On Friday, they will be visiting North Richland Hills at 10 a.m. and Cedar Hill at 2 p.m. According to officials, they are using a van service for their travels.
Councilman Michael Boyd reported on Wednesday that the City Council had previously discussed and subsequently visited the city hall in Georgetown a few months ago. In a move that surprised many, City Manager Kent Cagle took charge of the decision-making process regarding the visit to city halls in North Texas.
“The city manager was given discretion to choose,” stated Boyd. Councilwoman Jessica Gonzalez announced on Wednesday that they were examining cities that shared similarities with Killeen in terms of projected growth, size, and demographics.
Gonzalez stated that everyone has their own unique personal styles. “The aesthetic appeal of buildings is a crucial factor to consider.” She highlighted the fact that they were still in the early stages.
Councilman Joseph Solomon stated during a phone call on Wednesday that the City Council was simply “scouting out” those locations. According to his statement, he expressed uncertainty regarding the specific reasons behind the selection of those two locations. However, he did mention that the City Council intended to explore city halls located beyond the immediate vicinity of Killeen.
“It is crucial to have a clear vision for the future of city hall,” he stated.”We are actively seeking inspiration and exploring the initiatives implemented by other cities.” Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Nina Cobb expressed in a brief phone call on Wednesday that every place is worth investigating.
Councilman Riakos Adams recently visited Atlanta and had the opportunity to tour the city hall during his visit. In his statement, he expressed a desire for “something different.”
“I have occasionally taken the time to search for images of city halls out of curiosity,” he stated. “Georgetown, despite its smaller size, was praised for its strong concept,” he said. Georgetown is home to approximately 75,000 residents. The population of Killeen is close to 160,000.
“By visiting these places, individuals may gain insights that could inform their proposals,” stated Adams. According to him, it is beneficial to visit these locations to assist the architect responsible for designing Killeen’s new city hall. “By adopting this approach, we can ensure efficient use of funds and prevent unnecessary workload,” stated Adams.
Councilman Jose Segarra has declined to go on the trip. The Herald attempted to contact Mayor Debbie Nash-King and Councilman Ramon Alvarez for comment, but they did not respond to phone calls before the deadline.
The decision regarding the bond election, which aims to fund various projects including the construction of a new city hall in Killeen for an estimated cost of $66 million, has faced previous delays in both July and February. A bond election may be scheduled for the upcoming fall or potentially postponed to a later date.
In July, City Manager Kent Cagle warned of dire consequences if the bond failed to pass, leading to a delay in its implementation. He also noted that reintroducing the bond with the same modifications would not be a straightforward process. In 2023, a new state legislation was enacted, imposing a five-year waiting period before a bond election could be reintroduced.
Killeen City Hall, the focus of the bond election, was originally constructed in 1923 as a school house. It underwent renovations in 1995, at a cost of $2.7 million, to transform it into the current city hall. Killeen City Hall, located at 101 N. College St., has been recognized and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Killeen City Hall is facing challenges with its limited space and structural issues, specifically on the third floor where half of the area is rendered unusable.