‘Full-service’ center on the way for ASYMCA

Killeen | Killeen Daily Herald | June 3rd 2012

Organization hopes to break ground on Purser Family Park site next year

By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald

Local residents will enjoy the attractions and activities at Harker Heights’ new Purser Family Park this summer, but the wait for a new activity center is at least another year off.

The Armed Services YMCA is still gathering donors and funds to build a full-size recreation center in the park, said Tony Mino, the Armed Services YMCA’s executive director.

“Right now, we are still in the fundraising phase,” said Mino, who would not divulge how much has been raised so far. “We are doing well and hope to begin construction sometime next year.”

Mino said the facility will function as a “full-service” YMCA activity center, complete with an indoor pool, therapy and exercise equipment and a teen center. Mino also said the center will offer a “full range” of classes and programs.

“We did a community survey, and asked for their input,” he said. “It’s what people wanted to see us put in (the facility).”

Harker Heights already approved the use of about 4 acres of land within the 35-acre park, which opened to the public in February.

The proposed facility, which Mino said will be about 50,000 square feet, will sit alongside the park’s other amenities, including picnic areas, playgrounds, an 18-hole disc-golf course and a 1.25-acre dog park.

Steve Carpenter, Harker Heights’ city manager, said the activity center and the park fit into a larger vision for the city.

“We want to maintain nice neighborhoods, and if we are going to attract people (to the city), quality of life is a very important issue,” Carpenter said. “Part of that involves a master plan, and that includes making sure there are parks and sufficient green space for residents.”

The Armed Services YMCA operates out of a facility at 100 E. Beeline Lane.

Originally, Harker Heights gave the old city hall building to the YMCA, but it was damaged beyond repair and torn down. Instead, the group moved into the old library building on Beeline, which was renovated for about $25,000 and opened in March 2011. It leases the building from the city for $1 a year.

The Beeline facility includes a number of amenities, including game tables, video games, exercise equipment and a pool and splash pad.

Mino said the Beeline facility will continue to operate after the activity center in Purser Family Park opens.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

Want to donate?

To make a donation for the Armed Services YMCA’s activity center, call (254) 634-5445.