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Copperas Cove  Killeen Daily Herald | KDHnews.com BUy this photo at kdhnews.com Sunday, February 23, 2014 Jaime Villanueva | Herald A U.S. Highway 190 bypass bridge over State Highway 116 South is seen Feb. 6 in Copperas Cove. The road is set to open in the next 60 to 90 days, offering motorists an option to bypass the city on its south side. Cove’s economic future ‘bright and getting brighter’ By Wendy Sledd Killeen Daily Herald COPPERAS COVE — With the Five Hills Retail Center overflowing with fast food joints, financial centers, health and beauty businesses and the H-E-B Plus anchor store that opened in February 2013, there are a plethora of shopping opportunities. Copperas Cove welcomed Panda Express, Navy Federal Credit Union, and many new stores to the center in 2013. Construc- tion started in 2013 on a much-anticipated Chick-fil-A, which opened Feb. 20. Polo Enriquez, executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, said Five Hills will continue to expand as more businesses see the ben- efits of coming to Cove. “Endeavor Real Estate Group, the owners of Five Hills, will purchase the remaining acreage known as Phase II and continue its aggressive marketing efforts,” Enriquez said. The city approved sale of the final plat in November, which means the remaining portion of Robert Griffin III Boulevard will be dedicated to the city and Endeavor can sell portions of it. Utilities are already in- stalled on the remaining 50 acres. The type of tenants will be determined by market demand although no new retailers or other businesses are expected to build in Phase II until 2015. Five Hills was one of many projects in 2013 for the Cove EDC, which approved a nearly $5.4 million budget for fiscal year 2014. Funds for capital projects included nearly $1.9 million for the construction of the Narrows Business and Technol- ogy Park, a 72-acre subdivision, for which construction began in the fall of 2013. The development, which is Cove’s first shovel- ready site of this kind, will be completed by mid-year and ready to accept tenants that fit the target industry profiles, En- riquez said. “These tenants will mostly fall into the category of ‘primary job creators.’ Their products and services will enhance the economy of the community by bringing new wealth and opportunities,” he said. One of the EDC’s “pet projects” in the year ahead is the Copperas Cove Entre- preneur Center for which $43,000 was set aside in the budget to operate. Cove EDC is exploring the use of a building, currently under lease by the city to create a business , incubator that would give business own- ers a place to work with shared resources, consulting and staffing for a certain period of time. The FY 2014 budget allocated about $43,000 for the lease and utilities. Enriquez said, “2014 will be the year the Copperas Cove EDC board of directors will finally realize the dream of creating a place where fledging businesses can get their start.” Business growth on the west end of the city also continues, although at a slower rate. Dental and medical offices dot U.S. Highway 190 along with Cove Fitness in the strip mall called Cove Summit. Construction crews broke ground on an 8,000-square-foot strip center at 1009 W U.S. . Highway 190 in August. Cove Fitness is in the final stages of building its new facil- BUy this photo at kdhnews.com Marianne Gish | Herald Crowds walk past a variety of food booths during Rabbit Fest at Copperas Cove City Park. The annual May festival is the city’s top tourist attraction. See page 2. State Highway 9 opens; U.S. 190 bypass not far behind travel, the existing roadway will be named Business 190. Some businesses are already State Highway 9 was sched- using the Business 190 address uled to open Thursday and the and receiving mail, said Johnny U.S. Highway 190 bypass project Castro, a U.S. Postal Service is slated to open within the next spokesman. The addresses in 60 to 90 days. the postal service’s data base Although the 3.14-mile will be automatically updated Highway 9 project opened six and businesses and residents months behind schedule, it can notify personal correspon- came in under budget by $7,000. dents at their convenience. Texas Department of Trans- Plans are already underway portation spokesman Ken Rob- to beautify the newly named erts said a few things slowed Business 190, said Copperas the project down, including its Cove Councilwoman Marty location. Smith. “We had to move a lot of dirt BUy this photo at kdhnews.com Jaime VIllanueva | Herald “We will work with business- and the rock surfaces were a Motorists drive through construction on Farm-to-Market 116 Thursday in Cop- es to help spruce up and fix up. little more difficult to deal with peras Cove near where it meets the new State Highway 9. We plan to take the island out than we had anticipated,” he and make more of a landscape said. “It will be part of a newly days left before the originally highway should be an economic and beautify the area,” she said. designated highway across Fort scheduled completion date. boost to the community Resi- . The beautification project Hood which also took addition- The $47 million project broke dents complained about not be- will be funded by a $210,000 al time to comply with federal ground in July 2011. ing able to access Highway 190 grant awarded to Keep Copper- guidelines.” The bypass will become the when leaving a local business as Cove Beautiful for beautify- The project, which broke new U.S. Highway 190 and take or restaurant except in areas ing a TxDOT right of way . ground in early 2011, was sched- traffic around Copperas Cove, where a traffic light is posted. Silvia Rhoads, city recycling uled to be completed by the end from east of the Five Hills Shop- “We look forward to easing coordinator, said the project is a of summer 2013 at an estimated ping Center to west of Farm-to- the traffic congestion on High- joint effort. cost of $39 million. However, Market 2657. A ribbon-cutting way 190, allowing for easier “KCCB, the city and TxDOT the final cost was just $37 mil- ceremony is expected to be held access to local businesses, will work closely together to lion, Roberts said. . in April or May to officially especially during peak times,” ensure the beautification meets The 5.2-mile U.S. 190 bypass open the highway Roberts said. Keller said. , all requirements by TxDOT. project is more than three-quar- Copperas Cove city spokes- Once the U.S. 190 bypass An exact project has yet to be ters complete with less than 90 man Kevin Keller said the new is completed and opened for determined,” she said. by Wendy Sledd Killeen Daily Herald ity Cove Fitness Express, which will offer , fitness around the clock. The new facility , located in front of Cove Fitness, is set to open in late March and will offer tanning and day spa amenities, said Ownder Denise Doyle. Public hearings were held in 2013 to change the name of U.S. 190 once the bypass is completed this spring. While some fear less traffic on the major thoroughfare means fewer customers for businesses along it, Enriquez said he expects the op- posite. “For three years, I have been telling the merchants located on U.S. Highway 190 that lessening the amount of congestion will be good for business ... because getting in and out of the parking lots of those businesses will be easier and safer than before,” he said. “Our future is bright and getting brighter.”