The city of Bellmead is in the midst of $12 million in capital improvement projects and has a new public works director starting Tuesday who will keep the work on track while planning for the city’s future, interim City Manager Yost Zakhary said.

Herbert Blomquist will start in Bellmead on Tuesday, after leaving his role as assistant public works director for the city of Waco.

“I am dedicated to public service and I’ve been a public works director for 18 years so when Bellmead had an opportunity, the time was right,” Blomquist said. “I am going to be working on continuing updates and improvements in the public works departments I am responsible for and I think my experience and connections will really help bring resources and ideas to Bellmead.”

Blomquist served in various command roles in the U.S. Army, including as a company commander and city manager while stationed in Germany, overseeing millions of dollars in government property and renovating programs with the military. He also served as an operations manager in Fort Stewart, Georgia, and an automation information systems specialist in Fort Irwin, California.

Serving as a public works director in Watertown, South Dakota, from 2001 to 2009, Blomquist oversaw a 55-person department and managed a budget of more than $10 million. He worked as public works director for the city of Edmond, Oklahoma, from 2008 until last year, when he started with the city of Waco as assistant public works director.

“I have had tremendous success with vets, as they bring a great work ethic,” Zakhary said of the city’s new hire. “We have three major capital outlay projects, and I believe he will be successful in overseeing these improvements.”

The city is resurfacing Williams Road with $2 million from a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, installing a 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank at a cost of $2 million and building a Lucky Branch Sewer Interceptor at a cost of $8 million.

Zakhary said Charles Byrd, a retired Waco public works employee, served as interim public works director in Bellmead for four months and has led the effort to get the projects off the ground and ready for Blomquist to take over. Byrd was not interested in taking on the permanent role, Zakhary said.

Blomquist said he is eager to start and help move the city in a positive direction.

“I am grateful for the fact that the city of Bellmead is willing to take a chance with me and give me the opportunity to do the things I’ve been trained to do,” Blomquist said.

“I think he is going to be very good at strategic master planning, and we have some major projects that the city needs someone to take a schedule, follow the schedule and hold contractors, inspectors and everyone accountable,” Zakhary said. “We are very excited to keep making improvements for our residents.”

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Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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