Downtowns have often been described as the “living rooms” of cities. More than any other place, they represent a city’s collective history, identity and place-quality. Downtown is a community’s image-setter and is a barometer of a community’s overall life-quality. Most curious visitors to the city will want to visit downtown and they will make inferences about the whole community based upon what they see or experience there. A shabby downtown may imply that the city lacks sociability and verve and doesn’t much value civic or public life. A lively downtown, on the other hand, says that the community is convivial and open, has depth and variety, and values its history.
Named for Frank P. Killeen, an official of the railroad in Galveston, some believe that Killeen may have been among the railroad dignitaries on the train that arrived to mark the beginning of the town, but it has never been confirmed. The town of about 300 people became a shipping point of the area for agricultural products, cotton in particular. This small agriculture, turned railroad, turned military town, now has a population of over 130,000 people. With tremendous growth in retail trade and in dining facilities in the late 90s, Killeen has spread it's trade area to cover a 100-mile stretch of Central Texas pulling people in to take advantage of the special services the city offers.
The adoption of the City Charter in 1949 established the Council-Manager form of government the City of Killeen still operates under today. The mayor is the city's chief elected officer and presides over the city's seven-member City Council, which sets all policy. The City Manager oversees the operations and administration of the city. The city council has four district members representing the city as a whole. Policy making and legislative authority are vested in the city council, which is responsible among other things, for passing ordinances, adopting the budget, appointing committees, and hiring the city manager.