City celebrates San Gabriel Park Phase 2 completion Oct. 4

The City will celebrate the completion of Phase 2 improvements to San Gabriel Park at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 4 at the Springs Pavilion, which is near the low-water crossing and the College Street Bridge. (See Springs Pavilion 10 on the map.)

Phase 2 of the San Gabriel Park improvements project included a new basketball court, restrooms at the disc golf course, two new playgrounds and swings, additional pavilions, road improvements, restoration of two existing springs, and trail improvements—including the extension of the San Gabriel trail to the Katy Crossing neighborhood, which is expected to be completed this fall.

The $4.2 million Phase 2 project was completed by Ritter-Botkin Prime Construction Company Inc. of Pflugerville.

Future phases of the San Gabriel Park project include improvements to the remaining areas of the park. The design of Phase 3 improvements was included in the City’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

Funding for the improvements was approved by voters in a 2008 parks bond. The San Gabriel Park Master Plan, which was completed in June 2015, identified improvements to be completed in phases to limit park disruptions.

One of the springs restored in phase 2 is shown below.

Drain your pool safely this fall

As pool season comes to a close, many pool owners may decide to drain their pools for cleaning or necessary repairs. It’s important to remember a few tips when draining your pool to protect waterways and yards.

Here’s how to properly drain your pool in three easy steps:

  1. Let your pool water sit for five to ten days to allow chlorine to break down naturally. Avoid adding chlorine to the water before draining. The water pH level should be between 6.5 and 8.
  2. Stop all chemical water treatments. Avoid adding any chemicals to help reduce the water pH.
  3. Slowly drain pool water onto your lawn. If possible, drain the pool slowly onto your lawn over a few days. Avoid draining the pool water directly into storm drains and be sure to watch where the water goes to avoid flooding your neighbor’s yard.

Water from your pool may drain through yards into storm inlets, which lead to streams and rivers. Along with chlorine, pool chemicals can be toxic to fish, turtles, other amphibians, and plants.

By following these three steps, you can ensure that that water from your pool does not affect the water quality in rivers and streams or harm the plants, fish, amphibians, or other organisms that live in them.

For more information, visit transportation.georgetown.org/storm-water-plan/public-awareness.

Parks and Recreation hosts Hay Day event at Garey Park

The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a fall celebration at Garey Park on Oct. 12 from 1-4 p.m.

The Hay Day event will feature family-friendly activities including pony rides, lawn games, a photo station, music, community vendor booths, a hayride, pumpkin patch, and more. Food trucks will also be onsite.

Garey Park entry fees are required, and some activities will include a fee.

For more information about the event including activity fees, visit parks.georgetown.org/hay-day.

Bethapudi announced as general manager of electric utility

Daniel Bethapudi will be Georgetown’s new general manager for the electric utility. After a nationwide search, Bethapudi was selected from more than 50 applicants to serve in the new role. He will be taking on responsibilities currently held by long-time general manager Jim Briggs who is retiring Sept. 30.

Bethapudi currently serves as the assistant director for College Station Utilities, directing and managing transmission and substation operations and overseeing strategic planning and power supply functions. While in College Station, Bethapudi successfully restructured and replaced multiple energy contracts, resulting in average annual savings of approximately $15 million. He also developed and implemented a risk management framework and governance model to equip decision makers at all levels of the organization to properly assess risk related to energy.

“It was not easy to make the decision to leave College Station,” Bethapudi said. “I moved here to attend graduate school and ended up staying more than 15 years. But Georgetown offers a unique opportunity for me and my family. I look forward to addressing the current challenges facing the electric utility, ensuring this great institution remains an asset for the community for years to come.”

In Georgetown, Bethapudi will oversee Georgetown’s electric utility which serves nearly 27,000 customers. Reporting directly to the city manager, the new general manager will have responsibility for more than 75 employees and an annual operating budget of $77.4 million.

“Daniel is uniquely qualified to lead our electric utility through its current financial challenges. He has a track record of restructuring energy contracts, improving risk management practices, and achieving financial excellence,” City Manager David Morgan said. “We’re excited for Daniel to join the City of Georgetown team. He’s a natural fit for our organization, and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Prior to College Station, Bethapudi served in several roles at Navasota, Texas-based Mid-South Synergy, including the manager of engineering and information technology as well as interim chief operating officer. He concluded his time at Mid-South as the vice president and chief financial officer, directing the finance, engineering, information technology, and electric operations. During his time at Mid-South, Bethapudi oversaw the financial turnaround of the electric cooperative, implementing new strategic and financial planning processes, financial models, and technology.

Bethapudi has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India. He is also a project management professional, a certified energy manager, and a certified energy procurement professional. His first day at the City will be Oct. 7.

National Night Out on Oct. 1

National Night Out, an annual event to support safe neighborhoods, is on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Georgetown. Block parties are being organized from 6 to 9 p.m.

Last year there were more than 100 registered National Night Out events in Georgetown. Georgetown Police Department officers as well as other local law enforcement officers, elected officials, Georgetown firefighters and EMS technicians, and other City employees attended block parties in Georgetown.

The Georgetown Police Department is hosting a reception for hosts of NNO block parties at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, 3500 D.B Wood Road.

For details about National Night Out in Georgetown, go to pd.georgetown.org/national-night-out.

Partnership hosts readiness fair for GISD high school students

The City of Georgetown Economic Development Department is partnering with Georgetown ISD, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce to host a Future Readiness Fair on Sept. 24 for Georgetown ISD high school students.

The fair will feature colleges as well as vocational programs, representatives from military branches, careers in manufacturing, representatives from local public safety organizations, and other job providers. Students will be able to meet representatives from different career paths, and discuss the admissions process, funding options for college, and other paths to success.

The event will be at East View High School, 4490 E. University Ave., from 6-8 p.m. All GISD high school students are invited to attend.

For more information, visit georgetownisd.org.

Bag-the-Bag program pick up locations added

The City of Georgetown’s Bag-the-Bag program, which allows residents to recycle film plastics such as plastic grocery bags and other pliable plastic wrappers, has been expanded to include more yellow collection bag pick up locations.                                             

Georgetown solid waste customers can pick up two yellow bags each month from any of these five locations throughout the City:

  • Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Georgetown Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.
  • Sun City Social Center monitors desk, 2 Texas Drive
  • Transfer Station, 250 W.L. Walden Road

The yellow bags are specially designed to compact when compressed in the back of the collection trucks. Other bags may “pop” when compressed releasing their contents into the back of the collection truck. Additionally, the bright yellow color makes the bag easy to spot, and sort, on the sorting the line at the material recovery facility.

Items that can be recycled through the program include:

  • All types of clear or opaque common film plastics
  • Single-use and reusable plastic bags with handles
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper bags
  • Meat and produce bags (free of food residue)
  • Bread bags
  • To-go food bags
  • Ziploc-type bags
  • Plastic wrap and cellophane products
  • Six-pack rings
  • All types of plastic wrap encasing products such as paper towel rolls, toilet papers, napkins, and paper plates

Once the yellow bag is full, tie it shut and place it in the recycling bin.

Find out more at recycle.georgetown.org/single-stream-recycling.

Library receives Family Place Libraries designation

The Georgetown Public Library was designated a member of the Family Place Libraries national network in August.

The designation is given to libraries providing a welcoming community environment with resources to help families nurture their children’s development and early learning during the first years of life.

The library’s new Family Place offers residents a specially designed space in the children’s area for young children to play, share books, and meet other families. The Family Place hosts a collection of books, toys, music, and multimedia materials for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, parents, and caregivers, as well as librarians specially trained in child development and family support.

The Family Place also offers the Play, Learn, Grow playshop series for toddlers and their parents and caregivers. The series includes toys, books, and art activities that allow families to spend time together, make friends, and talk with specialists on various aspects of child development and early literacy.

The Family Place Libraries model is in more than 400 libraries in 30 states serving thousands of young children and their parents/caregivers. Georgetown Public Library is proud to be among them. The Georgetown Public Library Family Place Program is made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and in part by a State-funded grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Arts and Culture Brown Bag Luncheon: Grants 101 on Sept. 24

The City will host its first Arts and Culture Brown Bag Luncheon on Sept. 24 featuring a panel discussion titled Grants 101 with Jim Bob McMillan, deputy director of grants for the Texas Commission on the Arts and Jill Strube, secretary of the City of Smithville’s Richard D. Latham Cultural District.

McMillan’s experience with the TCA has given him expertise in the areas of economic development, local arts agencies, and the TCA Cultural Districts. Strube has experience in writing grants across sectors including the arts, library programming, parks and recreation, and municipal and emergency services.

The meeting begins at noon in the Hewlett Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. There will be time after the discussion to share and learn about arts and culture programs happening in the Georgetown Community.

This quarterly professional development presentation is sponsored by the Georgetown Arts and Culture program. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to arts@georgetown.org.

City of Georgetown hosts K-9 Kerplunk on Sept. 7

The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department will host K-9 Kerplunk on Saturday, Sept. 7. The event will take place from 10 a.m.-noon at the outdoor pool at the Georgetown Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave.

The entry fee is $5 per dog, and pet owners get in free. Pet owners must provide a copy of each registered pet’s current vaccination records to gain entry. Only shot records will be accepted. All dogs must be accompanied by an adult, 18 years or older, at all times during the event.

For details, visit parks.georgetown.org/k-9-kerplunk.