The news of Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy’s approval last week for a new museum outside of Fort Hood is causing positive reactions this week from local leaders, including Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra.
Segarra sits on the museum’s committee and has been part of the process “since day one.”
He credits retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, the museum foundation’s president and CEO, for his help in fundraising for the project.
“General Funk has done a phenomenal job,” Segarra said Monday. “This project will create a bond between the community and Fort Hood. It’s a win for all the cities and the surrounding areas.”
Other officials — such as retired Col. Keith Sledd, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, and Copperas Cove Mayor Bradi Diaz — have echoed Segarra’s sentiment.
“It’s a great opportunity for Central Texas,” Sledd said. “This is a great attraction and also will show the contributions that Fort Hood has made to this community and throughout the world.”
Diaz said the news is “great for ... Central Texans and Fort Hood to hear the construction of the National Mounted Warfare Museum is finally moving forward.”
“Our communities owe a huge debt of gratitude to ... Funk and his team for their tenacious dedication in bringing this premier destination museum to ‘The Great Place,’” Diaz said.
Jerry Bark, Harker Heights public relations director, said the news is great to “see things are beginning in motion.”
Groundbreaking for the National Mounted Warfare Museum could take place as early as September, according to a news release from the museum’s foundation.
The National Mounted Warfare Foundation reached its fundraising goal of $10.9 million in February to build Phase I of the museum, which will be near Fort Hood’s main gate.
Completion of Phase I is expected to be in 2022 and will include 13,000 square feet of interactive and immersive permanent exhibit galleries and more than 7,000 square feet of temporary exhibit space.
According to Bob Crouch, the foundation’s vice president, the Army will provide the land, as well as design and install the exhibits.
In fiscal year 2019, the city of Killeen signed a memorandum of understanding with the foundation to contribute about $80,000 annually for five years.
Clarence Enochs, the foundation’s development consultant, previously said the foundation is requesting $80,000 from the city’s FY21 budget, as part of the memorandum.
According to Enoch’s June presentation to the Killeen City Council, future use of funding will include “aggressive billboard marketing campaigns potentially reaching into Georgia, Alabama, Washington, D.C., and other tourist destinations.”
Bark said Harker Heights has contributed $87,500 towards the project through multiple budget cycles and the last contribution was during the FY19 budget in the amount of $12,500.
According to Ariana Beckman, Cove’s director of budget, the city allocated $25,000 from the FY19 general fund for the project. For the propose FY21 budget, Cove City Council directed staff to allocate $5,000 for the museum project.
Sledd said he has contributed to the project as a private citizen by participating in the foundation’s dinners and auctions.