Eric Johnson named Georgetown Public Works director

Eric Johnson was selected to serve as the director of the City of Georgetown’s Public Works Department starting June 28. After a nationwide search, Johnson was chosen from a number of qualified applicants. He started with the City as the capital improvement projects manager in July 2015 and was promoted to facilities director in January 2020.

“Eric has been instrumental in managing several, complex projects successfully, including renovating City Hall and the Council and Courts building and constructing new fire stations,” City Manager David Morgan said. “His expertise in leading teams and bringing people together is what we need to meet the demands of a fast-growing city.”

Johnson is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in construction science. He has more than 20 years of experience in municipal government. He served as assistant transportation manager for the City of Midland, Texas, for eight years before coming to Georgetown. Prior to that, he worked for seven years as the projects and facilities manager for the City of Hurst, Texas. Johnson has professional training in the fundamentals of construction contracts and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He graduated from Leadership Georgetown in 2017.

“Being raised in the area, I finally found my way back home six years ago, and Georgetown has been an amazing community to live, work, and play,” Johnson said. “I am most excited about expanding my capacity with the City of Georgetown to include Public Works and Facilities to help make a daily difference to the residents who love to be here as much as I do. The position of public works director touches every part of this wonderful City, and I look forward to leading an already fantastic group of men and women.”

Johnson will retain many of his responsibilities as facilities director in his new role. Public Works has 48 employees who work in several areas, including streets, signs/signals, drainage, storm management, environmental services, transportation planning, airport, and facilities capital improvement and maintenance. He will provide the City representation for state, regional, and local project development with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Capital Area Council of Governments. He will also be responsible for the administration, updates to, and enforcement of the City’s Overall Transportation Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, Airport Master Plan, and Solid Waste Master Plan.

July 4 Celebration at San Gabriel Park

[UPDATE: Fireworks may start at about 9:15 p.m.]

The Georgetown Sertoma Club will have a fireworks display at dusk Sunday, July 4, in San Gabriel Park for its 38th annual Family July 4 Celebration. The parade and other festivities normally included in the celebration have been canceled.

“Several months ago, a joint decision was made by the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Sertoma Club not to hold this year’s festivities in San Gabriel Park due to COVID,” Georgetown Sertoma Club President Lauri Tulloch said. “Since then, we have seen improved conditions. It’s much too late for the necessary planning of events, but we are thrilled to be able to provide the fireworks show.”

The fireworks display begins at about 9:15 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from the McMaster Athletic Fields on North College Street. Fireworks can be viewed from San Gabriel Park, VFW Park, and other areas in Georgetown. The best entrance to San Gabriel Park for the event via Morrow Street on North Austin Avenue. The free event is sponsored by the Georgetown Sertoma Club service organization with assistance from the City of Georgetown.

Please do not bring dogs to the July 4 event.

Parking

There is limited parking in San Gabriel Park. Attendees also are encouraged to park at Georgetown High School and carpool to San Gabriel Park. Limited handicapped parking is available in the designated area on the south side of San Gabriel Park.

Both the McMaster Fields parking lot and the Parks and Recreation Administration parking lot at North College Street and W.L. Walden Drive will be closed on July 4 due to their proximity to the fireworks fall zone.

College Street and McMaster Fields closure

Due to the fireworks fall zone, North College Street will be closed Sunday, July 4, from about 9 to 11 p.m. between the traffic circle and Holly Street. Parking, standing, or sitting along that segment of North College Street will not be permitted during this time.

The McMaster Athletic Fields will be closed all day Sunday, July 4.

Personal fireworks prohibited

By City of Georgetown ordinance, fireworks are not allowed in the city limits of Georgetown or within 5,000 feet of the city limits, unless they are used in a permitted display authorized by the Georgetown Fire Department. This area outside city limits includes, but is not limited to, the neighborhoods of Cedar Hollow, Crystal Knoll, Escalera, Fountainwood, Indian Creek, Logan Ranch Road, Lost Rivers, Oak Crest, Olde Oak Estates, Serenada, Shady Oaks, Turtle Bend, and Woodland Park, and areas along D.B Wood Road.

Violations can lead to fines of up to $2,000 per firework. To view a map showing the 5,000-foot boundary, go to maps.georgetown.org/fireworks-ban-area-map.

Additionally, please make sure your dog is secure inside your home, particularly during the evenings of the holiday weekend. Georgetown animal control officers pick up several loose dogs around the Fourth of July and New Year’s holidays, many of whom are never reunited with their owners.

City riverbank cleanup event rescheduled to June 26

The City of Georgetown has rescheduled the riverbank cleanup event in San Gabriel Park to June 26. Volunteers can check-in for the event beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the white tent near the red poppy playground, which is located on the north end of the park. A safety briefing will be held at 8:55 a.m. The cleanup will be from 9-10 a.m.

Volunteers who registered for the original date June 5 do not need to reregister.

During the event, trash bags and gloves, as well as light snacks and drinks, will be provided. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing such as long pants, hats, and sunglasses, as well as comfortable closed-toe shoes.

Individuals interested in volunteering can email MS4Operator@georgetown.org to register or sign up online at transportation.georgetown.org/river-cleanup. The cleanup event may be canceled in case of bad weather. Follow the City’s social media pages for updates: facebook.com/cityofgeorgetown and twitter.com/georgetowntx.

Call for Arts and Culture grant proposals now open

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board is now inviting grant proposals for events and programs occurring between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, as part of the 2021 round two grant period. The deadline for submitting for this grant period is June 30, 2021.

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board awards grants twice each year for visual art, music, theatre, dance, literary, and cultural heritage events and programs taking place in Georgetown, as well as organizational development initiatives including board training, strategic planning, and professional development. All applicants are considered without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.

Nonprofit organizations, schools, and informal arts and culture organizations creating arts and culture programming, organizational development, or an event open to the public are eligible to apply. Organizations that received funding in the 2021 round one grant period are not eligible to apply for 2021 round two.

For more information and to submit a proposal, please visit the grant page at arts.georgetown.org/grants.

Protect your family and pets from the heat this summer

As temperatures rise, the City wants to remind you to protect your family and pets against hot temperatures and heat-related illness on local summer excursions.

Protect pet paws

In hotter temperatures, it becomes increasingly dangerous for your dog to go on walks on concrete and asphalt. Asphalt absorbs heat throughout the day and stays hot even after the sun goes down, which can burn a pet’s paw pads. Pro tip: Take short walks in the early morning and stay in the shade. If it’s too hot for you to keep your hand on the asphalt/concrete for more than five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.

Stay hydrated

It is important to remember to drink water to prevent dehydration and heat-related illness.

Dogs usually need three to four times the normal amount of water in hot weather, depending on their size and activity level, to stay hydrated. If you’re taking them for a hike or day at the lake, make sure to take plenty of extra water for them. Watch for signs of dehydration, such as pale gums and lethargy. Pro tip: Adding a touch of low-sodium broth can encourage drinking.

Don’t leave your dog or small children in a parked vehicle

Leaving your pet or child in a parked car on a warm day can be a deadly mistake. The temperature in a parked car can heat up like an oven, even with the windows cracked. For example, it can reach 140 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Open windows and shaded parking areas won’t save your pet’s life in temperatures that high.

Dogs pant to cool off and only excrete sweat through their paw pads instead of sweating through their skin like people. With only hot air to breathe, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke. Pro tip: This time of year, leave your pets at home. If you must take them (on vacation or to an appointment), plan your day so that you can drive directly to the destination.

If you see a dog left in a hot car in Georgetown, and it appears to be in distress, call 512-930-3510, ext. 6, for Animal Control.

Children in hot cars can experience the same effects. If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, please call 911.

Prepare and stay safe

Knowing the signs of heat-related illness and how to respond is important. You can find more information for how to prepare and stay safe in the heat at ready.gov/heat.

Memorial Day closings

City of Georgetown offices and facilities will be closed on Monday, May 31, for the Memorial Day holiday. This includes the following:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive
  • Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Light and Water Works Building, 406 W. Eighth St.
  • Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Municipal Court, 510 W. Ninth St.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Public Safety Operations and Training Center, Police Records and Fire Support Services offices, 3500 D.B. Wood Road
  • Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.
  • Tennis Center, 400 Serenada Drive
  • Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St.

Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243, will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, May 31.

GoGeo transit service

There will be no GoGeo bus transit service on Monday, May 31.

Pools open Memorial Day weekend

The Recreation Center Outdoor, Williams Drive, and Village Pool will open for the summer season Saturday, May 29. The Recreation Center Outdoor Pool will be closed May 30-31. For more information, call 512-930-3596 or visit parks.georgeotwn.org/pools-and-splash-pads.

Splash pads: The splash pads at San Jose Park, 1707 San Jose St., Downtown, 816 S. Main St., and Rabbit Hill Park, 1109 Blue Ridge Drive, are open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. each day through Sept. 30. The splash pad at Garey Park is open daily during park hours from April 1-Oct. 31. The Garey Park splash pad closes 30 minutes prior to park closing.

Solid waste and recycling

There will be normal solid waste and recycling collection for City of Georgetown customers on Monday, May 31. Carts should be at the curb by 7 a.m. on pickup day. The Collection Station at 250 W.L. Walden Drive will be open normal hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., on Monday, May 31, for the Memorial Day holiday.

Flash flooding, severe weather expected May 18-20

Georgetown residents should be prepared for severe weather starting the afternoon of Tuesday, May 18, through Thursday, May 20.

The National Weather Service has the area in a flash flood watch through 1 p.m. Thursday. In that time, Georgetown and other areas of Central Texas are expected to receive between 6 and 8 inches of rain, with some pockets receiving up to 10 inches. Considering the rain Georgetown has received in recent days, the ground and waterways already are saturated and therefore more prone to flooding. Other threats in addition to flooding include damaging hail and wind and isolated tornadoes.

Georgetown residents should take steps now to prepare for flooding and damaging, severe weather. The following areas are particularly prone to flooding given their proximity to waterways and flood areas. People who live in and/or travel through these areas should use caution:

📍Quail Valley toward 19th Street
📍Golden Oaks/Shady Hollow/Airport Road
📍Berry Creek entrance off Hwy. 195
📍Along San Gabriel River + Lake Georgetown + other bodies of water & low bridges

City staff is preparing barricades, clearing brush, and organizing staffing to make sure we can respond to the storm. While the City will share Georgetown-specific updates as needed, residents should use the following resources for helpful tips and updated information as the situation changes.

Resources

Emergency alerts

Prepare for flooding

Forecast updates

Road closures due to flooding

Flood stage information

City of Georgetown

  • Water and electric outages
  • If you’re experiencing an outage that you don’t see on the outage map, please call 512-930-3640. Make sure to call from the phone number associated with your account, because our phone system can recognize the number and update our system automatically, without speaking to a representative. Use of this automated system is critical for after hours and when our phone system is inundated with calls.
  • City Twitter
  • City Facebook
    • Note: As of Tuesday afternoon, the City was planning to post updates on this page and on social media Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Please refer to the other resources listed above for more up-to-date information on the storm. We try to be as responsive as possible, but the City’s social media channels are not monitored 24/7. If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

 

Breakfast Bites: Georgetown Hidden Histories

[UPDATED: The location of this event has changed to the Council & Court Building, 510 W. Ninth St.]

The Breakfast Bites meeting June 3 will feature Georgetown Downtown and Historic Planner Britin Bostick presenting on “Georgetown Hidden Histories.” The informal meeting opens at 8:15 a.m. in the Council & Court Building, 510 W. Ninth St. The presentation will start at 8:30 a.m.

Looking at the historic districts today, it can be hard to imagine the dirt streets, wandering livestock, and scant trees of Georgetown’s early years. Join Bostick as she takes a tour through some fun and fascinating places you may not know ever existed through a great collection of maps, photos, and documents. The presentation will also include an update on the Downtown and Old Town Overlay Design Guidelines update project.

At the June 3 meeting, there will also be updates from City staff on a variety of topics, as well as updates from downtown partner organizations and new businesses in the downtown district that have opened or are under construction.

Breakfast Bites is a quarterly meeting of the Georgetown Main Street Program. Limited seating is available. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, online at https://bit.ly/3beDwXB.

Participants are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. Hand sanitizer will also be available for attendees. Food and drink will not be provided during the event due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

Public input sought for parks and recreation master plan

The City of Georgetown will host a virtual public forum at 6 p.m. Monday, May 24, to kick off the creation of a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The master plan will provide a vision for the Parks and Recreation Department and act as a guide over the next 10 years. During the master plan process, consultants GreenPlay LLC will look at the existing parks, recreational facilities, and services, to determine what future level of services will be needed using public input. The master plan will prioritize the community’s desires for upgrading and improving parks and recreational assets to develop goals, policies, and guidelines as well as an implementation plan.

In addition to this public forum, a needs assessment survey will be conducted to determine priorities for the parks and recreation system, facilities, and activities, as well as what funding sources may be available, potential partnerships, and how best to support the parks and recreational needs of the community.

There will be several opportunities for public input throughout the master planning process, which is expected to be completed by January 2022.

To register for the public form, participate in a community questionnaire, and learn more about the master plan process, visit gtxparkplan.com.

Georgetown seeks public input on Hazard Mitigation Plan draft

The City is seeking feedback on the draft Hazard Mitigation Plan, which was updated using feedback from residents.

The plan, which is updated every five years, aims to minimize, or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from known hazards, such as droughts floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and other major disasters. Hazard mitigation efforts could include projects such as flood channel clearing, road and bridge design changes, property buy-outs, building code changes, or public alert systems.

The City is asking residents and business owners to provide feedback to make sure the reflects the priorities and concerns of the community and proposes action items to address those risks. The updated, draft plan includes feedback from a public survey this past winter. The City received 349 responses to its first survey. Of those who responded, 47 percent said they have been affected by a natural or manmade hazard in the past five years, the most common being hail.

Residents and business owners can provide feedback on the draft plan by submitting comments on our website through May 30. Residents can also review the results of the City’s risk analysis, which was guided in part by the results from an earlier community survey and is included in the draft plan.

After the comment period closes May 19, results will be compiled, and included in the updated plan that will be submitted for review and approval by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency before being presented to City Council for adoption.