I-35 overnight mainlane closures Dec. 6-10

The City of Georgetown will temporarily close some I-35 mainlanes north of Williams Drive Dec. 6-10, to continue construction of the Northwest Boulevard bridge. The overnight lane closures will start each night at 9 p.m., with lanes expected to reopen to traffic by 5 a.m. each morning. All work is weather permitting.

On Sunday, Dec. 6, one northbound mainlane and two southbound mainlanes of I-35 will be closed for overnight work on concrete barriers. On Monday and Tuesday nights, Dec. 7-8, two northbound I-35 mainlanes will be closed. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Dec. 9-10, two southbound I-35 mainlanes will be closed.

Road signs have been placed to alert drivers of the closures. Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

The Northwest Boulevard bridge will be a new east-west connection spanning I-35 and an alternative to Williams Drive. The project connects Rivery Boulevard to the west and FM 971 to the east and is scheduled to be complete in early 2021.

Round up your utility bill to help neighbors in need  

The City of Georgetown is partnering with The Caring Place, a community-based nonprofit in Georgetown, to provide qualified customers financial assistance with their utility bill.

The Good Neighbor Fund, which allows utility customers to add onto their monthly bill to support neighbors in need, now has a new option: Customers can elect to round up their utility bill, with all the proceeds going to the Good Neighbor Fund. Donations support The Caring Place, which administers the fund, to provide financial assistance with utilities to more families in need.

“As more residents are affected by the pandemic, we expect to see a rise in the number of utility bill assistance requests,” City Manager David Morgan said. “This is an easy way to help our neighbors. Even a small change can make a big difference. We are pleased to include this option for our customers and want to thank everyone already participating in the program.”

Customers can sign up to donate online at gus.georgetown.org/gnf. There customers will be able to choose from two donation options:

1.     Contribute a specific monthly donation amount.

2.     Round-up the monthly utility bill to the nearest dollar and donate the overage to the fund. For example, if a participant’s utility bill totals $151.02, it would be rounded up to $152. The extra 98 cents would be donated to the fund.

With either option, the pledge will appear as a line item on the utility bill. Participation in either Good Neighbor Fund Pledge program is voluntary and can be cancelled at any time by contacting the Customer Care Center at 512-930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org.

During the 2020 fiscal year, the Good Neighbor Fund assisted 215 families with more than $45,000 in utility charges. The Good Neighbor Fund is completely supported by utility customer contributions. Currently 2,764 customers contribute to the fund.

Customers who would like to request assistance can visit caringplacetx.org/covid19 for more information, or call 512-943-0709 and leave a message.

Early voting starts Dec. 3 for District 2 runoff election

Early in-person voting starts Thursday, Dec. 3, for the City Council District 2 runoff election. Shawn Hood and Lisa King are the candidates on the ballot.

Early voting dates are Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 7-11. Polling hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7-11.

The early voting location in Georgetown is Georgetown City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. See other early voting locations at wilco.org/elections.

The ballot by mail application deadline for the election is Friday, Dec. 4. Mail ballots must be received at the Williamson County Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Election Day is Tuesday, Dec. 15. Polling hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. See details about Election Day polling locations at wilco.org/elections.

I-35 overnight lanes closures Dec. 1-3

Lanes on I-35 north of Williams Drive in Georgetown will close nightly Dec. 1-3.  The lane closures for the Northwest Boulevard bridge construction will start each night at 9 p.m. and lanes will reopen to traffic the next morning at 5 a.m. All work is weather permitting.

One northbound mainlane and two southbound mainlanes will be closed each night Tuesday–Thursday for the construction of a concrete barrier on I-35.

Road signs have been placed to alert drivers of the closures. Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

The Northwest Boulevard bridge will be a new east-west connection spanning I-35 and an alternative to Williams Drive. The project connects Rivery Boulevard to the west and FM 971 to the east and is scheduled to be complete in early 2021.

Georgetown Public Library Director Eric Lashley to retire in January

Nov. 19, 2020—Georgetown Public Library Director Eric Lashley, who has served in that role for 20 years, announced his retirement from the City of Georgetown today. Lashley will retire Jan. 29 to become the executive director of Central Texas Library System, a nonprofit serving 218 member libraries across the state.

High points in Lashley’s 25-year career at the City include National Medal recognition for the library in 2018 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and being named Texas Librarian of the Year in 2019 by the Texas Library Association.

“Eric’s passion for public service has been an inspiration to our team for 25 years,” Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said. “He initiated the programs that designated Downtown Georgetown as a cultural district through the Texas Commission on the Arts and has led our library to National Medal status. We are so fortunate that he will continue to support our community and our library in his new role.”

Lashley played a key role in championing the need for a new library, as well as its construction and opening in 2007. During his tenure, the library has increased materials circulation and has also served as a community gathering space where groups can meet, artists can show their work, children can develop reading skills, and adults can learn and find the latest bestsellers or information on many topics. The library regularly partners with local nonprofit groups to offer tax assistance, voter registration, exhibits, and programs for all ages. About 15,000 items are added to the library’s collection each year, and materials are checked out more than half a million times per year. The library’s door counts show more than 380,000 visits per year.

Under Lashley’s leadership, Georgetown Public Library became a member of the Family Place Libraries national network, providing a welcoming community environment with resources to help families nurture their children’s development and early learning during the critical first years of life. In the most recent pre-COVID year, the library’s children’s program attendance totaled almost 16,000.

The library has regularly received Best of Georgetown awards for Best Place to Take Children, Best Meeting Venue, Best Place to View Art, and Best Place to Volunteer.

“Eric leaves a lasting legacy with our beloved library and vibrant arts community. His leadership will be missed, but I’m glad Eric will be sharing his talents broadly across Texas,” City Manager David Morgan said.

Beyond metrics showing the scope of the library’s impact, Lashley’s quirky personality is apparent in the Jeep that sits in the children’s area, art pieces such as an enormous banana made of plastic toys or a huge metal rhinoceros that sat by the entrance, or belly-dancers who performed at the library opening in 2007.

Lashley also was instrumental in creating the City’s Arts and Culture Board, the Georgetown Art Center, the Cultural Arts District, and the art, music, bookmobile and bike share programs at the library. His community honors include the W. D. Kelley Foundation Outstanding Leadership Award, the Georgetown Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award, and the Williamson County Sun newspaper’s Person of the Year award. Lashley was honored twice as a Manager of the Year for the City of Georgetown and as Employee of the Year, as well.

Lashley will use his experience as an innovator and leader in Georgetown to help libraries across the state when he becomes the Central Texas Library System executive director in January.

“Eric has been part of CTLS since its beginning, and his passion for the mission and vision of CTLS and the role it plays for libraries in the state of Texas has always been apparent to the board,” CTLS Board Chair Gretchen Pruett said. “Of course, the residents of Georgetown know that Eric and the library he has led are among the very best in the country, and we are pleased that Eric will have the opportunity to share his knowledge with so many more libraries. It is a rare opportunity for him to make a difference for every library in the state through CTLS.”

CTLS currently serves public libraries spanning 114 counties and serving 7.76 million Texans.

“I have had a wonderful career with the City and will miss the day-to-day interaction with patrons, volunteers, and my staff, but look forward to serving public libraries statewide,” Lashley said. “I will continue to live in Georgetown and plan to stay active in the community. I want the public to know they are in good hands with the staff of the library.”

Sally Miculek, currently assistant director of library services, will serve as interim director while the City conducts a search for a new library director.

Public Library moves to curbside service only Nov. 13

Nov. 12, 2020—The Georgetown Public Library will begin offering curbside pickup of reserved materials; the building will be closed to the public starting Friday, Nov. 13. The shift to curbside-only service follows the announcement yesterday from the Williamson County and Cities Health District that the County has moved into the orange phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, characterized by high spread of the disease in the community.

Hours for curbside pickup service at the Library are 10 a.m. to noon and 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Saturday. The Georgetown Public Library is at 402 W. Eighth St.

Books, DVDs, and other library materials can be requested for curbside pickup via the Public Library catalog website at catalog.georgetown.org. Items and previously reserved craft kits can be picked up in the Ninth Street parking lot. Patrons should have a mobile phone, park in a designated spot, and follow the instructions on the sign at the parking stall. Materials will be brought to their vehicle by Library staff.

Returned materials are being accepted in the drive-through book return slot in the Ninth Street parking lot. The Library does not charge fines for overdue items. Donations are not being accepted at this time.

For additional information or questions, visit the Library website at library.georgetown.org or call 512-930-3551.

Visitor Center and other City facilities open

Updated, Nov. 13, 2020–The Visitor Center at 103 W. Seventh St. and other City facilities–except the Library–will remain open. At the Visitor Center, lower limits on the number of people allowed in the public area will be enacted to increase safety. Occupancy limits remain in effect in other City facilities and masks are required to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Visitor information can be found at VisitGeorgetown.com or by following Visit Georgetown on instagram.com/visitgeorgetowntx, twitter.com/visitgeorgetown, or facebook.com/VisitGeorgetownTX. Visitor Center staff are also available 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday for tourism information by phone at 512-930-3545 or by email at cvb@georgetown.org.

Resident survey open through Dec. 6

What are your top priorities for the City of Georgetown?

How would you rate our City parks, library, police, fire/EMS, and other City services?

Here is your chance to tell us.

Take the open online resident survey at georgetown.org/2020opensurvey. The survey is open to all Georgetown residents through Dec. 6. Your answers are anonymous.

The online open survey, as well as a mailed survey sent to a random sample of residents, is conducted by Texas State University for the City of Georgetown. The resident survey happens every two years.

Results from the survey inform future city budgets, capital improvement projects, plans, and new programs.

Blood Drive at Recreation Center Nov. 13

The City of Georgetown will host a Blood Drive Nov. 13 for We Are Blood, the nonprofit community blood supplier for Central Texas. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Avenue.

Appointments are required for blood donors and can be scheduled through the We Are Blood website or by calling at 512-206-1242. Donors should bring a government-issued photo ID and must wear a mask in the Recreation Center. Staff at the event will screen for COVID-19 with donors and will follow safe practices such as cleaning surfaces after each donor. Those who are donating should have a meal 2-3 hours prior to donating.

We Are Blood will conduct COVID-19 antibody testing on all donations.

For eligibility questions, assistance signing up, or more information, call We Are Blood at 512-206-1242 or visit their website at WeAreBlood.org.

I-35 mainlanes close overnight for bridge work Nov. 8-12

The I-35 mainlanes north of Williams Drive in Georgetown will close nightly Nov. 8-12 as crews construct the new Northwest Boulevard bridge. Lane closures each night will start at 9 p.m. and lanes will reopen to traffic the next morning at 5 a.m. All work is weather permitting.

On Sunday and Monday nights, Nov. 8-9, two northbound I-35 mainlanes will close to traffic.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Nov. 10-11, all southbound I-35 mainlanes will be closed. Southbound traffic will be diverted to the frontage road at the Williams Drive exit.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, the right lane on the southbound frontage road will be closed.

Road signs have been placed to alert drivers of the closures. Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

The Northwest Boulevard bridge will be a new east-west connection spanning I-35 and an alternative to Williams Drive. The project connects Rivery Boulevard to the west and FM 971 to the east and is scheduled to be complete in early 2021.

Runoff election for District 2 council seat Dec. 15

Since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 3 in the District 2 Georgetown City Council race, there will be a runoff election for the two candidates with the most votes.

The runoff with Shawn Hood and Lisa King will be on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The early voting period will be Dec. 3-11. Polling locations and times will be announced after they are determined.

In other Georgetown races on Tuesday, Josh Schroeder won the election for mayor and Rachel Jonrowe was reelected to District 6 on the council. Votes will be canvassed and new council members will be sworn in at a special City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Voter turnout in Williamson County in the Nov. 3 election was 75 percent.