Entities urge attendance at Listening Session

Cove Leader-Press
During their first quarterly meeting of 2015, the city’s entities came together to share about their most recent activities and projects, as well as discuss what is to come. Besides their regular business, an important item of discussion by the group was the upcoming Fort Hood Listening Session, to be held on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. The Listening Session is being held by the commanding general of Fort Hood as the Department of Defense prepares for an upcoming BRAC— base realignment and closure. “We do need people to bring everybody you can,” Chamber of Commerce President Betty Price told the group. “The importance of that is that they see that entire central ballroom completely filled with people standing, sitting. It’s going to send a message to D.C. They’re going to decide which military installation is going to take a hit, and we don’t want that to be Fort Hood.” Price said there will be a selected panel that will talk about sectors of business, about sustainability, about education, about the available at workforce in the Fort Hood area. “We’ve asked for some specific talking points, not just the feel-good stuff,” Price said. “We know how great we treat our soldiers, but every other post says that too. Anyone else who feels passionate about this, please speak up during this event.” CCISD superintendent Joe Burns also talked about the importance of community wide support for the Listening Event. “Bill Parry said this is the 28 th of 30 planning sessions and they’re going to be tired,” Burns said. “Parry said we need to share with them how cost effective it is to live in this area. We have one of the lowest cost of living rates of not just Texas but the nation. Burns said the district is planning to advertise the event with its staff and will run school buses that night to the event, as there won’t be enough paring. Monica Hull, with the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, said the EDC will push the information about the meeting on the digital sign and Facebook. She added that she will work with Bill Parry of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance to get some information that all groups can share with a common message. Price said there will be strength in numbers for those who come to the event. “Prior to this one, the Listening Session in Fort Campbell, they had a crowd of 2,000, she said. “Don’t say no one will miss you (if you don’t come). es, they will. Price said at the prior Listening Session in 2013, different local groups and schools could be recogni ed by their campus colors. She encouraged theidea that business owners wear their “colors as well, such as businesses lie H-E-B, known for their red uniform tops. Burns shared another tidbit of information he learned from Bill Parry. “He fully expects the information gathered at these listening session will be used to guide the BRAC process. Fols. if you don’t have a crowd out there, this must not mean a lot to you.During last Thursday’s HOTDA public meeting in Copperas Cove, Parry stressed the importance of as many people as possible attending the Listening Session. The event is a public forum for locals to provide direct input about key community points of interest they believe should be considered in the Army’s stationing decision process. Representatives at Wednesday’s entities meeting from the City of Copperas Cove included city manager, Andrea Gardner along with mayor John Hull, as well as city secretary Mariela Altott, and council members Mark Peterson and Marty Smith. Betty Price and Li Sherman represented the chamber of commerce, and chamber board president-  with Ralph Ford of the chamber board. Polo Enri and Monica Hull represented the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation. Joe Burns and Joan Manning represented the Coppears Cove Independent School District.

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