By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald

The Texas Department of Agriculture dubbed the city of Killeen the 40th official GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community Thursday.

Being in the program means the city is part of a retirement awareness campaign that could bring more retirees to the area.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in a statement that Texas is poised to be a top choice among retirees because of the program’s ability to raise awareness of the state as a retirement destination.

According to the release, Texas is the No. 2 retirement state in the nation and retirees spend about $42,500 each year in their respective communities.

The designation was made official in December, said Jenna Lieser, project manager for the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.

Any municipality in Texas can apply for the CRC program to showcase itself as a retirement location and tourist destination by contacting the Department of Agriculture’s rural economic development division.

Qualifications to become a CRC include completing an application and retirement desirability assessment. The assessment includes demographics, tax structure, housing, safety, job market, health care and public transport.

“Place design, the effort to design a better place to live and work, is vital to Killeen’s economy,” Mayor Tim Hancock said in a statement. “Our participation in the GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community Program will greatly aid us in focusing on place design.”

A decision to allow a city in the program is made by a volunteer advisory team consisting of business people, health care professionals, government employees and retiree reviews.

“I’m obviously delighted with this designation,” said Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, in a statement. “It confirms what Killeen residents have known for many years. Killeen is a wonderful place to live that provides quality of life issues, combined with a stable economy and a pleasant environment.”