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Killeen is a city in Bell Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 86,911 at the 2000 census. It is a "principal city" of the Killeen–TemplemarkerFort Hoodmarker Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Killeen is directly adjacent to the main cantonment of Fort Hoodmarker, and as such its economy is heavily dependent on the post and the soldiers (and their families) stationed there.

Killeen, Burnetmarker and Lampasasmarker counties are represented in the Texas House of Representatives by the semiretired veterinarian and rancher Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican first elected on November 7, 2006.

History

In 1881, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway extended its tracks through central Texas, buying a few miles southwest of a small farming community known as Palo Alto, which had existed since about 1872. The railroad platted a seventy-block town on its land and named it after Frank P. Killeen, the assistant general manager of the railroad. By the next year the town included a railroad depot, a saloon, several stores, and a school. Many of the residents of the surrounding smaller communities in the area moved to Killeen and by 1884 the town had grown to include about 350 people, served by five general stores, two gristmills, two cotton gins, two saloons, a lumberyard, a blacksmith shop, and a hotel. Killeen expanded as it became an important shipping point for cotton, wool, and grain in western Bellmarker and eastern Coryellmarker counties. About 780 people lived in Killeen by 1900. Around 1905 local politicians and businessmen convinced the Texas legislature to build bridges over Cowhouse Creek and other streams, doubling Killeen's trade area. A public water system began operation in 1914 and its population had increased to circa 1,300 residents.

Until the 1940s Killeen remained a relatively small and isolated farm trade center, but this changed drastically after 1942, when Camp Hood (re-commissioned as Fort Hoodmarker in 1950) was created as a military training post to meet the demands of the Second World War. Laborers, construction workers, contractors, soldiers, and their families moved into the area by the thousands, and Killeen became a military boomtown. The opening of Camp Hood also radically altered the nature of the local economy, since the sprawling new military post covered almost half of Killeen's farming trade area. The loss of more than three hundred farms and ranches led to the demise of Killeen's cotton gins and other farm related businesses. New businesses were started to provide services for the military camp. Killeen suffered a recession when Camp Hood was all but abandoned after the end of the Second World War, but when Fort Hood was established as a permanent army post in 1950, the city boomed again. Its population increased from about 1,300 in 1949 to 7,045 in 1950, and between 1950 and 1951 about a hundred new commercial buildings were constructed in Killeen.

By 1955, Killeen had an estimated 21,076 residents and 224 businesses. Troop cutbacks and transfers in the mid-fifties led to another recession in Killeen which lasted until 1959, when various divisions were returned to Fort Hood. (Elvis Presley even lived in Killeen for a time during his stint in the army.) The town continued to grow through the 1960s, especially after the Vietnam War led to increased activity at Fort Hood. By 1970 Killeen had developed into a city of 35,507 inhabitants and had added a municipal airport, a new municipal library, and a junior college (Central Texas College). By 1980, when the census counted 49,307 people in Killeen, it was the largest city in Bell County. By 1990 its population had increased to 63,535, and 265,301 people lived in the Killeen/Temple metropolitan area. In addition to shaping local economic development after 1950, the military presence at Fort Hood also changed the city's racial, religious, and ethnic composition. No blacks lived in the city in 1950, for example, but by the early 1950s the town had added Marlboro Heights, an all-black subdivision, and in 1956 the city school board voted to integrate the local high school. The city's first resident Catholic priest was assigned to the St. Joseph's parish in 1954, and around the same time, new Presbyterian and Episcopal churches were built. By the 1980s the city had a heterogeneous population including whites, blacks, Mexican Americans, Koreans, and a number of other foreign nationals.

On October 16, 1991, George Hennardmarker murdered 23 people and then committed suicide in the Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen (see Luby's massacremarker).

Also in 1991, one of Killeen's high school football teams, the Killeen Kangaroos, won the 5-A state football championship. By 2000, the census listed Killeen's population as 86,911, although it is now around 100,000, making the greater Killeen area one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation. A large number of military personnel from Killeen have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of April 2008, over 400 of its soldiers have died in the two wars.

On November 5, 2009, a gunman opened fire on people at the Fort Hoodmarker military base with two handguns, killing 13 and wounding 30. The gunman, Nidal Malik Hasan, sustained 4 gunshot wounds but arrived at the hospital in stable condition. (See Fort Hood shootingmarker)

Geography

Killeen is located at (31.105591, -97.726586) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.4 square miles (91.7 km²), of which, 35.3 square miles (91.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.14%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 86,911 people, 32,447 households, and 22,972 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,458.9 people per square mile (949.3/km²). There were 35,343 housing units at an average density of 999.9/sq mi (386.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.78% White, 33.49% Black, 0.78% Native American, 4.33% Asian, 0.91% Pacific Islander, 8.99% from other races, and 5.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.80% of the population.

There were 32,447 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.9% under the age of 18, 16.0% from 18 to 24, 35.7% from 25 to 44, 13.6% from 45 to 64, and 4.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,461, and the median income for a family was $36,674. Males had a median income of $26,502 versus $21,799 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,323, compared to the national per capita of $21,587. About 11.2% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

In 2007, Coldwell Banker ranked Killeen, Texas as the most affordable housing market in the United Statesmarker with an average cost of $136,725.

Government

Local Government

According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $133.4 million in Revenues, $119.0 million in expenditures, $523.3 million in total assets, $219.9 million in total liabilities, and $90.4 million in cash and investments.

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:

City Department Director
City Manager Connie Green
Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison
Building Official Earl Abbott
City Attorney Katherine H. Davis
City Secretary Paula Miller
Chief of Police Dennis M. Baldwin
Director of Aviation John Sutton
Director of Community Development Leslie Hinkle
Director of Community Services Vacant
Director of Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Connie Kuehl
Director of Finance Barbara Gonzales
Director of Fleet Kim Randall
Director of General Services Brenda Essenburg
Director of Human Resources Debbie Maynor
Director of Information Technology Donald Fine
Director of Library Services Deanna Frazee
Director of Planning Dr. Ray Shanaa
Director of Public Information Hilary Shine
Director of Public Works James Butler
Director of Solid Waste and Drainage Services Wayne McBride
Director of Street Services John Koester
Director of Utility Services Robert White
Director of Volunteer Services Will Brewster
Director of Water & Sewer Robert White
Fire Chief Jerry Gardner


Notable Residents

  • Robert Gray - Served as a B-25 Mitchell command pilot on Jimmy Doolittle's "Doolittle Raid" over Tokyo, Japan on April 18, 1942. On March 27, 1942, Gray buzzed Main Street with his B-25 enroute to Alameda Bay, CA via San Antonio, TX. Gray Street and Gray Army Airfield on West Fort Hood are named in his honor.
  • Tommie Harris, Jr. - Current Chicago Bears defensive tackle.
  • Elvis Presley- was stationed in Fort Hood and lived in Killeen for a short time.


Economy

According to the City's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Fort Hood 58,187
2 Killeen Independent School District 6,000
3 Central Texas College 1,360
4 MetroPlex Hospital 1,300
5 Fort Hood Exchange 1,218
6 City of Killeen 1,100
7 First National Bank 1,000
8 Sallie Mae 936
9 Killeen Mall 800
10 Wal-Mart 650


Crime

In 2005, the city of Killeen suffered from burglary and larceny rates that surpassed those of both Houstonmarker and Detroitmarker. In 2005, the National average of burglaries per 100,000 people was 814.5, while Killeen reported 2107.7 burglaries per 100,000 people. The National average of larcenies per 100,000 people was 2734.4, while Killeen reported 3698.1 larcenies per 100,000 people.

Public Safety

The city of Killeen is protected by two municipal civil service departments, the Killeen Fire Department and the Killeen Police Department.

The Killeen Fire Department is separated into three separate divisions; Training, Fire Prevention, and Operation. The latter being broken into three shifts; A, B, and C.

  • The Training Division is led by the senior Training lieutenant Lt Randy Pearson . He is assisted by a junior lieutenant Lt Trent Parker. Together they are responsible for all of the training of on duty personnel, as well as Fire training academies of cadet trainees. The training division hosts two training academies per year for individuals that wish to become Texas Certified Fire Fighters. They also host a two year program in conjunction with the Killeen Independent School District that allows high school juniors and seniors to become certified firefighters while graduating from high school. The Killeen Fire Department and Killeen Independent School District are the first in the State to have such a program. To date it has been a very successful program resulting in the hiring of many local men and women directly out of high school.


The training division is also responsible for a few community outreach programs.


Child Safety Seat Class
The Killeen Fire Department holds classes regarding child safety seats every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. The class will discuss the values of proper child safety installation, as well as aid in installing your privately purchased seat. Also on a limited basis the Fire Department has Child Safety Seats available to low income families.


Child Immunization
The Killeen Fire Department hosts annual immunization drives. These are no-cost shot clinics aimed at both civilian and military families. They are hosted at the beginning of the school year during the end of summer vacation. They are also hosted on a monthly basis on every second Saturday (except for august) from 10:00-2:00 at the Killeen Fire Training Center. Again these are no-cost to the individual, and it’s aimed at providing a better standard of living for the citizens of central Texas.


  • The Killeen Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division is currently helmed by Fire Marshal James Chism. Mr. Chism and his four inspectors are responsible for the inspection of all businesses within the City Limits. They are also responsible for the investigation of all fires, both accidental and malicious. Their arson investigations of have one of the highest conviction rates within Texas, sometimes doubling the rates of similar sized municipalities. The Fire Prevention division also has a great history having attained the Number One in Fire Prevention in the nation in the mid seventies.


  • The Third Division is also the largest and most well known, the Operations division.
It is responsible for the day-to day operation of the fire department. The operations division is responsible for in excess of 12,000 ambulance calls and 6,000 fire calls annually. The operation division is divided into three separate but equal “shifts”. These shifts work on a rotating basis of 24 hrs on duty 48 hrs off duty. The A shift is led by Cpt Bill Brooks, B shift is led by Cpt Leon Adamski and C-Shift is led by Cpt Cody Simmons.


The Fire Department also has several staff officer level positions. The highest being the Fire Chief, Chief Jerry Gardner. Chief Gardner is assisted in his duties by three deputy chiefs; DC Steve Buchanan, DC Kenneth Hawthorne, and DC Brian Brank. In addition to the staff officers, the staff is supplemented and assisted by several secretaries and paid assistants.

Transportation

Killeen is served by a small regional airfield known as Skylark Field (ILE), the larger Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airportmarker (GRK), and the HOP public bus transit system. The HOP buses are easily identified by their teal and purple color exteriors.

Major highways that run through Killeen are U.S. Highway 190 (Central Texas Expressway (or CenTex), Business Loop 190 (Veterans Memorial Boulevard), State Highway 195, Spur 172 (leading into Fort Hood main gate), and Interstate 35 (10 miles away in Beltonmarker).

Education

The Killeen Independent School District (KISD) is the largest school district between Round Rockmarker and Dallasmarker, encompassing Killeen, Harker Heightsmarker, Fort Hoodmarker, Nolanvillemarker, and rural west Bell County. KISD has, as of 2005, thirty elementary schools (PK-5), eleven middle schools (6-8), four high schools (9-12), and six specialized campuses. KISD's four high schools and mascots are the Killeen High School Kangaroos (the original city-wide high school), the Ellison High School Eagles, Harker Heights High School Knights, and the Shoemaker High School Grey Wolves.

Central Texas College was established in 1965 to serve Bell, Burnet, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Llano, Mason, Mills and San Saba counties in addition to Ft Hood. CTC offers more than 40 associate degrees and certificates of completion.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas opened on September 1, 1999 as a branch campus of nearby Tarleton State Universitymarker. After the campus enrolled 1,000 full-time equivalent students, Tarleton State University-Central Texas became a separate institution within the Texas A&M University System. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees.

Media and Entertainment

Killeen's main newspaper is the Killeen Daily Herald, which has been publishing under different formats since 1890. The paper was one of four owned by the legendary Texas publisher Frank W. Mayborn, whose wife remains its editor and publisher. The Herald also publishes the Fort Hood Herald, an independent publication in the Fort Hood area, not authorized by Fort Hood Public Affairs and the Cove Herald for the residents of Copperas Covemarker which is a weekly paper. The official paper of Ft. Hood, however, is The Fort Hood Sentinel, an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army that is editorially independent of the U.S. government and military.

Killeen also has a well established music scene with varying genres. Rapper Scarface from Houston has signed local group Green City to his label with the members of the group also enjoying varying levels of success, and Downsiid (a rap/rock/soul hybrid) are currently enjoying national tours and Bodog Battle of the Band contests.

Killeen is also home to Vive Les Arts Theatre, a full-time arts organization which produces several Main Stage and Children's Theatre shows each year. This community theatre relies on local talent and contributions to produce its high-quality productions. Recent shows include the long-running Broadway hit Cats, Ain't Misbehavin' (a tribute to the songs of Fats Waller) and All Shook Up (a jukebox musical featuring the songs of Elvis Presley) Visit vlatheatre.com for information about auditions, classes and workshops, upcoming shows and more.

Radio stations



Sources

  1. Most Expensive and Most Affordable Housing Markets
  2. City of Killeen CAFR Retrieved 2009-07-17
  • Bell County Historical Commission. Story of Bell County, Texas 2 vols. Austin: Eakin Press, 1988.
  • Duncan Gra'Delle, Killeen: Tale of Two Cities, 1882-1982 Killeen, Texas: 1984.


External links






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