By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
It was a banner year for the Belton community in 2014. It was just one of those unique years where everything comes together. For the City of Belton 2014 was a year for the ages.
Phase II of the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail was completed, connecting Downtown Belton with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Wheat Road was widened to serve the Chisholm Trail Elementary School. North Main sidewalks from 22nd to Sparta Road were constructed. New playground equipment for Yettie Polk Park and a special needs playground and a fifth baseball field were built in Heritage Park. A 14” water line extension from Sparta Road to Chisholm Trail Parkway was installed.
The recycling program was started this year and it was a major success in the community. Phase I Main Street widening north of Lake Road is nearing completion. The city is working with TxDot on Phase II to the Belton City limits and to FM 2305. “If you look back the first major change was in implementation of the recycling program. That seems like it has been in place a long time. It has been that kind of year, a banner year. Remember the ice storm and the naming of a new street after Martin Luther King, Jr? 2014 was an incredible year for Belton. So much was accomplished,” said Public Information Officer Paul Romer.
The RUOK grant from the Central Texas Council of Governments in the amount of $15,000 was used to fund a part-time staff to call elderly citizens at home. The city will also receive a grant of $20,000 in 2015. The project is a one of kind for the area. The project is where volunteers call to check on the elderly who live alone. The city also received a $30,000 Public Safety Training Center Grant from the office of the Governor. BISD donated buildings for the training center. A Community Development Block Grant was awarded to Belton in the amount of $330,000 for a Miller Heights sewer project to begin in 2015.
A Youth Police Academy was started and the fifth Citizens Police Academy classes were held. At National Night Out the Belton community hosted 23 block parties to create awareness dealing with crime. The Belton Fire Department hosted their third open house and created a mapping of fire hydrants. The Lena Armstrong Library secured a grant for e-readers.
Key staff changes and retirements were: Brandon Bozon-hired as Finance Director, Gene Ellis-appointed Assistant City Manager, Angellia Points-hired as Assistant Public Works Director, Mat Batespromoted to Recreation and Events Director, Gary Barber-promoted to Shop Superintendent,
James Grant-promoted to Parks Superintendent and Jeff Bolton-promoted to Street Superintendent. Guy O’Banion and Paul Sanderford elected to serve on the Belton City Council. Belton’s first female Mayor, Marion Grayson was elected and David K. Leight was selected Mayor Pro Tem. Mayor Jim Covington retired from public service after years of work improving the Belton
community with dedication and devotion.
Belton Police respond to 60 accidents during an ice storm in January. In February the Martin Luther King Jr. street signs unveiled. Library received J. Frank Dobie Award in March and a new fire truck was ordered. RU OK celebrates first year in April. Baseball Association presents City
of Belton with a $75,000 check for a baseball field.
Belton Students help Belton Police Department make public service announcements in May. Leadership Belton add landscaping to Loop 121 Gateway sign and pavilion to park on Mitchell
Circle. Hail storm hits Belton with roofing permits skyrocketing. Belton Police were involved in shooting on Spur 2410 in June. Belton Rotary Club dedicates flag pole at Loop 121 welcome
sign. A prescription drug drop was box placed at Belton Police Department.
The Lena Armstrong Public Library added service to allow card holders to check out eBooks in
July. A 12” waterline is ruptured on a construction site forcing a conservation request. Lake-to-
Lake Water main completed. Nolan Creek low water crossings removed in August. Library begins
offering free online practice driving permit tests. Firefighter recognized for saving 61-year
old male in September. Library host Writers and Readers, Ink time.
Kendall Mraz named Miss Flame in October. Belton Police Department holds its first Coffee with a
Cop. High winds knocked down large number of trees. Belton police arrest five burglary suspects.
Belton Police Department receives new vehicle. Fire Fighters begin offering 10-minute CPR course.
December city switches to CodeRed emergency alert system. Belton Police and Fire Departments participate in food drive. Christmas on the Chisholm Trail is celebrated again. Fire Department participates in Santa Pal Program. Lions Special needs playground opens. Families use the swift water rocks being installed to catch trout after trout at the Family Fishin Fun event.
The narrowing of Nolan Creek was used by several fishermen, women and kids to catch some trout.
Grants were received by the TDHCA Home Program for three replacement homes. The goal for 2015 is to be awarded five grants in this manner. There are more major projects that will be completed in 2015. The Nolan Creek Recreation and Flood Mitigation project was started and will be completed this year. Belton Police Station expansion should begin in early 2015. Temple/Belton sewer plant expansion is also planned for next year. MLK extension over Nolan Creek to Loop 121 should begin this year.