Updated 9/23: 75 dogs die in fire at pet boarding facility

Updates

Click here to jump to the City fire codes comment box below
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Sept. 23, 2021 update:

The Georgetown City Council is working to create a permanent memorial for the lost family members. Council is set to approve the funding at its meeting Tuesday.

“The loss the families experienced of their loved ones on Saturday is a tragedy and one that breaks my heart,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “While it does not heal the pain the families feel, the City would like to establish a memorial at our Bark Park to honor the 75 dogs — family members, really — that lost their life. Our Council will be directing staff this upcoming Tuesday to begin the process in establishing this memorial and working with the families.”

Sept. 22, 2021, update:

We do not have additional information on the investigation; however, we wanted to address some questions and concerns we have been receiving in regard to our kennel permitting ordinance and occupancy requirements at pet-boarding facilities.

City Manager David Morgan goes through this information in the video below. We want to make a few things clearer:

  • The kennel permit ordinance regulates such requirements as food, water, sanitary conditions, and health. It does not require sprinklers, smoke alarms, or 24/7 staffing.
  • Failure to obtain a kennel permit does not mean such businesses cannot operate. Ponderosa Pet Resort does have a Certificate of Occupancy which does allow them to operate in the facility.
  • We have not been actively educating about or enforcing the kennel permitting ordinance — something we know we need to improve and are working diligently toward. We have an active, dedicated animal control team who respond to any concerns about animal health and safety.
  • Because we haven’t been enforcing the kennel permitting ordinance, we do not expect to issue a citation to any of the three businesses we know of, including Ponderosa, for not having a kennel permit. But we want to reiterate: Obtaining a kennel permit does not require fire suppression.
  • We are working through recommended updates to our fire codes, and expect to bring those before City Council this fall. Relevant to pet-boarding facilities, we expect to recommend adding a section about animal occupancy into our City fire code, which may require smoke alarms and/or sprinkler systems in kennels and pet-boarding facilities regardless of square footage. We want your feedback on these updates, and have set up a comment box below to collect them.
  • First responders reported that the majority of kennels had one occupant. There were a few larger kennels that had two dogs, as well as several kennels that were unoccupied. Based on calls for service rendered at the facility since it opened, we have no reason to believe the facility did not meet our animal health standards. Codes relevant to occupancy limits are subjective to allow for flexibility based on the size of the space and the size of the animals.

More information and detail are available in the Question and Answer section below.

Sept 21, 2021: Questions and Answers below

Sept. 20, 2021:

The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing and is expected to take at least into next week as we continue to review the scene, including watching video recordings and conducting interviews. Preliminary investigations have given us no information that indicates the cause of the fire was criminal in nature, and it is too soon to comment further. However, we have reached a point in our investigation to be able to release the pets back to their families. The owner of the facility is working to reunite the dogs with their families at an alternate location. Families should expect to receive an email notification from the owner today.

“As part of this investigation, we have been working closely with the owner, and our combined focus is to reunite families with loved ones,” Fire Chief John Sullivan said. “We understand people want answers. We want answers, too. We have to make sure we’re evaluating all the facts, so we can understand what happened, so we can better prevent this in the future.”

The business has confirmed 59 families lost loved ones Saturday. The City is not confirming identifies of the dogs or their families.

Federal, state, and Georgetown fire codes do not require sprinkler systems for the use and size of the facility. City code, available here, requires sprinklers for occupancies listed/operating as a business of at least 10,000 square feet. The facility involved in the fire has a square footage of 8,125. The City’s requirement supersedes and is more restrictive than national code requirements. City has been reviewing its fire codes, and we expect to present recommended updates to City Council in fall 2021. As a result of this incident, we also will evaluate options that could impose additional safeguards in animal care facilities. The Georgetown Fire Department last inspected the facility in 2015, at which time we found no violations to the fire code. The use of the facility is considered a low fire risk, and the use and structure have not changed since the inspection.

The City of Georgetown Animal Services Department regulates the care and keeping of animals in kennels through a 2013 ordinance linked here. The ordinance regulates such requirements as food, water, sanitary conditions, and health. It does not require sprinklers, smoke alarms, or 24/7 staffing. All kennels within the Georgetown city limits are required to have a kennel permit. The business from Saturday’s fire does not have a kennel permit; however, the requirements of the permit do not address such safety measures as fire suppression and warning systems. We know this business is not the only one to operate without a kennel permit, and the City is working to increase awareness, education, and enforcement about this requirement.

Additional updates will be provided as soon as possible, here, to local media, and on the City’s social media channels.

Video update from Chief John Sullivan on Sept. 20, 2021:

 Sept. 19, 2021:

A fire at a pet-boarding facility in Georgetown Saturday night led to the deaths of 75 dogs.

Georgetown Fire Department responded to 911 calls about 11 p.m. at Ponderosa Pet Resort, 2518 N. Austin Ave. Crews arrived on scene in four and a half minutes. By that time, the facility was engulfed in smoke from the fire. None of the 75 dogs staying at the resort survived. No humans were injured or died in the fire. Twenty-five firefighters responded to the blaze.

“We know each dog that died in this fire was a cherished member of someone’s family, so our heart goes out to all those who were affected by this tragic fire,” Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan said. “We believe the dogs at the facility likely died due to smoke inhalation, not the flames from the fire. We are working as quickly as we can to conclude the investigation, so pets can be returned to their grieving family members as soon as possible.”

Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause and origin of the fire, as well as whether any fire suppression or smoke alarms were present. Federal, state, and Georgetown fire codes do not require sprinkler systems for the use and size of the facility.

The owner of the facility has been cooperative with the investigation. The facility will contact family members of the dogs to make arrangements to retrieve their deceased pets.
Video from Sunday, Sept. 19 news conference with Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan:

Questions and Answers

Fire investigation

1) Who will be the agency determining the cause of the fire?  Georgetown FD or Fire Marshall?  Who should we check with daily to know the status of the investigation?

Georgetown Fire Department will determine the cause of the fire. We are working closely with the Fire Marshal as well as other professionals.

2) How was the Ponderosa fire first detected Saturday night?  Who alerted the fire department?

We received several 911 calls from passersby about smoke and fire coming from the building.

Kennel permits

1.) What are the requirements of a kennel permit?

The permit requirements are laid out in the code, available here.

This ordinance regulates such requirements as food, water, sanitary conditions, and health. It does not require sprinklers, smoke alarms, or 24/7 staffing.

The maximum fine set out in City code for not having a kennel permit is $500 per offense, per day as set out in Section 1.08.010. To date, the City has not proactively enforced this provision of ordinance. We are working to provide notice to current kennel operators to make sure they are aware of the kennel permit requirements and provide them 90 days to come into compliance. We hope to have those letters delivered before Oct. 1, 2021. Should known kennel operators not come into compliance after the deadline to comply, City staff will refer the matter to municipal court.

We are asking the public, if they are aware of facilities that board more than five dogs or cats, to please submit that information to animalsvc@georgetown.org.

2.) How often is a business supposed to secure a kennel permit? Is it yearly?

The ordinance requires kennels reapply for a permit annually.

3.) Will Ponderosa Pet Resort face any fines or other penalties for not having a kennel permit?

We do not expect to fine Ponderosa, or any other kennel without a kennel permit, at this time. The City is working diligently to develop a process to obtain a kennel permit, at which point we will focus on increasing awareness and education about the requirement before we begin enforcing it. Kennel permits are stored electronically.

4.) Can you provide an estimate on how many other kennels may exist in the city that aren’t permitted?

Our records show one kennel in City limits has a kennel permit, and the City has four operating businesses that would fall under the ordinance.

5) Of places that have a kennel permit in Georgetown, how often are those inspected?  Has any permit ever been revoked or a permit-holder fined?

As we have not enforced the permit requirement, we have not inspected or fined kennels or revoked permits as relates to this ordinance other than the one kennel that is permitted, which was inspected and issued a permit.

The Georgetown Fire Department last inspected the facility in 2015 , at which time we found no violations to the fire code. The use of the facility is considered a low fire risk, and the use and structure have not changed since the inspection. During fire inspections, we look for compliance to the occupancy for what they’re in. In the case of pet-boarding facilities, which are classified as general business, we’re looking to make sure the doors are functioning properly, that it has proper hazard storage and lighting, etc.

The fire department performs inspections all the time. Outside of state-licensed facilities, like hospitals and schools, which are required to be inspected annually, each jurisdiction determines how often it inspections properties. For general business occupancies, like animal-housing facilities, the Georgetown Fire Department tries to perform fire inspections every three years. We know we have fallen short on hitting that target. Fire Chief Sullivan has asked staff to review these practices and look into changing the frequency for inspections on animal-housing facilities.

City code and fire departments inspected the facility at 2518 N. Austin Ave. for its Certificate of Occupancy  for its current use as a pet-boarding facility in 2013. The structure was built in 1962. At the time, it was located outside the Georgetown City limits. It has had several uses through the decades, including a roofing company, a body and paint shop, and a plumbing supply outlet. Based on the uses and our fire codes throughout this time, City fire codes have not required smoke alarms and sprinklers in the structure.

6) What are the action steps coming next to “increase awareness, education, and enforcement?”

We are developing a process, then will reach out individually to the kennels that need a permit to help them through the process. The code requires permits to be renewed annually.

7) Was Ponderosa Pet Resort over capacity by having 75 dogs on the premises at one time?

The kennel permitting ordinance has several requirements as they relate to animal health, including that the facility must be adequate for the number and type of animals and the animals must be able to move about freely. Therefore, occupancy limits are subjective to allow for flexibility based on the size of the space and the size of the animals. For example, 30 kennels might be able to comfortably fit 50 smaller dogs, but would likely be inappropriate for 50 large dogs. Additionally, only dogs from the same household who are altered or of the same sex would be permitted to share a kennel.

First responders reported that the majority of kennels had one occupant, though there were a few larger kennels that had no more than two dogs. There were several kennels that were unoccupied. Based on calls for service rendered at the facility since it opened, we have no reason to believe the facility did not meet these or other, required standards.

Police and animal control calls for service to Ponderosa Pet Resort can be found here.
Fire and emergency medical calls for service to Ponderosa Pet Resort can be found here.

Changes to City ordinances

1) What changes to the City’s fire code or building code are being considered?

The City adopted the International Fire Code in 2014. We have spent the last year going through a comprehensive review of the entire code for recommended updates. This work includes reviewing what regulations other cities our size have adopted, as well as reviewing alternative requirements from the National Fire Protection Association.

Relevant to pet-boarding facilities, we expect to recommend adding a section about animal occupancy into our City fire code, which may require smoke alarms and/or sprinkler systems in kennels and pet-boarding facilities regardless of square footage. Some sample language is found within the National Fire Protection Standard (NFPA 150).

We also seek to recommend providing clarification within the Fire Code so it acknowledges pets as “occupants” in a building so that safeguards are in place to protect all occupants (pets and humans).

2) When will those be proposed?

We anticipate presenting recommended amendments to the City’s fire code ordinances to City Council in fall 2021.

3) Will they apply only to new animal boarding facilities or will they apply to existing businesses?

We haven’t yet determined whether any of the proposed regulations would apply to businesses retroactively. That is something we expect we expect to discuss with City Council.

4) Is there a possibility a facility like Ponderosa would be required to have “fire suppression and warning systems” under new fire code?

If City Council adopts the recommendations detailed above, and wants them to apply retroactively, then existing facilities, including Ponderosa, would be required to comply.

5) When would changes go into effect?

This depends on when the regulations are presented and adopted by City Council, but we hope to have new codes in place early 2022.

Changes to international fire code

1) Georgetown Fire Protection Engineer Carl Wren mentioned in his video Monday, Sept. 20, that he would be proposing changes for the 2024 International Fire Code on behalf of the City of Georgetown.  What changes are the Georgetown Fire Department considering proposing?

Wren will be supporting the inclusion of a section about animal housing facilities into the international codes.

2) When and where are the hearings taking place on the proposed changes to the building code?

The International Code Council conference and hearings take place Sept. 19-26, 2021. Read more here. The ICC is reviewing updates to the code that would go into effect in 2024.

3) Can members of the public share their own comments on possible code changes? If so, how can they do that?

We want residents to share their thoughts about changes to the City’s fire codes as we work through this process. Please use the comment box below, which will send the comments to a dedicated inbox at the Georgetown Fire Department. We will review this feedback as we finalize the proposed amendments.

Provide your feedback on Georgetown fire codes

The Georgetown Fire Department currently is reviewing our existing fire codes, which are based on the International Fire Code, and plan to make recommended amendments to City Council in fall 2021. We expect to recommend adding a section to the City’s adoption of the IFC about animal occupancy that may require smoke alarms and/or sprinkler systems in kennels and pet-boarding facilities regardless of square footage. No such designation currently exists in the IFC, and we are modeling our recommendation based off of only a handful of other cities and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 150) that now have these requirements.

Please use the comment box below to provide your feedback about Georgetown fire codes, which will send the comments to a dedicated inbox at the Georgetown Fire Department. We will review this feedback as we finalize the proposed amendments. Any proposed changes would go before City Council, at which time there will be additional opportunities for public input. Any changes that are proposed to the City Council will be publicized in advance.

Last day for fixed-route bus service in Georgetown is Sept. 30, 2021

Paratransit services will continue uninterrupted

The fixed-route bus system currently serving Georgetown residents will have its final rides Sept. 30, 2021. City Council during its July 27 meeting directed staff to negotiate a paratransit agreement with Capital Metro, without any provision for fixed-route service. City Council on Sept. 14 approved an interlocal agreement to continue paratransit services only.

“The City of Georgetown remains committed to providing exceptional services where they are needed,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “The council has been very forward-thinking and proactive with regard to providing some form of public transit to meet our residents’ needs. City Council has given direction to discontinue the current fixed route system as of Oct. 1, 2021, but to continue providing our paratransit services. The current fixed-route system has not produced the expected ridership. As Georgetown continues to grow, so will the need for public transportation. I would expect this issue to be reassessed in the future.”

The City’s paratransit service, which is run by Capital Area Rural Transportation System, or CARTS, as a subcontractor for Capital Metro, currently serves 235 riders. The paratransit service is only available to people with disabilities. Eligibility and screening for paratransit services is provided, through a paper application, by the CARTS.

In the new agreement, the City will have up to two vehicles providing the current, curb-to-curb service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eligible riders will continue to pay $2 per trip and be required to make a reservation 24 hours in advance through the website or by calling 512-478-RIDE (7433).

The cost for continuing the paratransit service is estimated at $271,140. The City would pay $162,684, and the remaining cost would be covered through a match from the Federal Transit Administration. Because the City anticipates the number of qualified riders could increase with the loss of the fixed-route service, the City has committed to set aside an additional $81,342, with the FTA contributing $54,228, which will be used if needed in FY2022.

CARTS’ Interurban Coach bus service between Georgetown and Austin will continue. The bus picks up passengers from two stops in Georgetown, at Eighth and Forest streets and 3620 S. Austin Ave., twice a day Monday through Friday and has several stops on the way to and in Austin, including University Oaks, Tech Ridge Park & Ride, and Austin Greyhound.

History of GoGeo, public transit in Georgetown

The City and Capital Metro launched Georgetown’s fixed-route bus system Aug. 21, 2017. The partnership also included paratransit services in the City. The Georgetown Health Foundation also has provided funding for GoGeo.

GoGeo’s fixed-route service operates four routes with 46 stops that run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. GoGeo also offered a Saturday service until March 2020, when it was canceled due to the pandemic. Annual average ridership for the fixed-route has ranged from 20,299 in Fiscal Year 2018 to 14,431 in Fiscal Year 2020. The City has spent $1.4 million for both fixed-route and paratransit GoGeo services since its inception. The City also paid $168,031 to install bus stops and other infrastructure. Annual costs for the service averaged $574,552 in local funding. The City’s current contract with Capital Metro expires at the end of September.

Council meeting and agreement materials

July 13 Council Workshop: Video | Presentation

Sept. 14 Council Meeting: Coversheet

Interlocal agreement

ADA Application for Eligibility

For more information about the GoGeo program, visit gogeo.georgetown.org.

Seventh Street and Rock Street closures Sept. 20-28

Rock Street will be closed at the south side of Seventh Street Sept. 20-23 for crosswalk construction. Local vehicle access, on-street parking, sidewalk access, and business access will remain open on Rock Street via Eighth Street. See map below.

Seventh Street will be closed at the west side of Rock Street and Rock Street will be closed at the north side of Seventh Street Sept. 23-28 for crosswalk construction. Sidewalks and businesses on Seventh and Rock streets will remain open and accessible. Local vehicle access, on-street parking, sidewalk access, and business access will remain open on Rock Street and on Seventh Street. See map below.

The schedule for the work may shift if there are weather delays.

City to host household hazardous waste event Oct. 20

The City will host a free household hazardous waste collection event from 3-6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the old show barn site in San Gabriel Park, 425 E. Morrow St.

The event will be available for up to 300 Georgetown solid waste customers who have solid waste service through Texas Disposal Systems. Customers must contact Customer Care at 512-930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org to have their name placed on a list. Please include your name, address, and utility account number when emailing customer care. Customers must have their name on the list to participate.

Residents must remain in their vehicles during the no-contact collection. Staff will unload items from the back seat or trunk of the vehicle.

All items to be dropped off must be in their marked original containers. Commercial disposal and trailers are not allowed.

Acceptable items include:

  • Batteries (household, hearing aids, cell phone, etc.)
  • Automobile batteries
  • Pool and spa chemicals
  • Used oil/oil filters (up to five gallons per vehicle)
  • Transmission fluid
  • Light bulbs (including regular, compact, and four-foot fluorescent)
  • Grease
  • Thermometers
  • Over the counter, residential lawn and garden chemicals
  • Aerosols
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants marked caution, warning, or poison
  • Art and hobby chemicals
  • Paint (up to 10 gallons per vehicle)
  • Over the counter one-pound disposal propane bottles
  • Gasoline (up to five gallons per vehicle)

Unacceptable items include:

  • Unmarked containers or unknown chemicals
  • Construction, commercial, or landscape waste
  • Professional, concentrated chemicals that require a professional license to mix
  • Medications or pharmaceuticals
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Electronics
  • Tires
  • Explosives (including ammunition and fireworks)
  • Radioactive materials
  • Biological materials

Additional household hazardous waste collection events are being planned for 2022.

For more information about the City’s solid waste and recycling services, visit recycle.georgetown.org.

Williamson County will also host a household hazardous waste collection event open to all county residents 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Hutto Football Stadium, 573 Chris Kelley Blvd. Find more information by calling 512-759-8881, option 4, or visiting https://bit.ly/3648ZYX.

National Hispanic Heritage Month events in September

The City of Georgetown is hosting several events to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

Georgetown Public Library

The cultural celebration will include several events from the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St., including an outdoor movie screening, take and make crafts, and a folklorico dance performance.

Events kick off Sept. 24 with a screening of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco.” The PG film follows aspiring young musician Miguel on a journey to the land of his ancestors where he uncovers the mysteries behind his family’s traditions and stories. The film will be shown at dusk on Forest Street between the Library and Light and Water Works building. Crafts and activities for children will be available starting at 7 p.m.

Ballet Folklorico will host a performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in Library’s Hewlett Room. Tickets will be handed out first-come, first-served starting at 1 p.m. that day.

The Library will also have a selection of craft kit takeaways available to celebrate Hispanic heritage, as well as highlighting relevant items in all collections and sharing lists of recommended books, CDs, and films.

For more information, visit library.georgetown.org.

Tuesday Talks with Britin and Ann

Britin and Ann’s Tuesday Talks presentation in September featured the people and places that are part of Georgetown’s Hispanic heritage. Watch the replay on Facebook and find other past presentations at historic.georgetown.org.

POPPtoberFest in downtown Georgetown Oct. 1-3

Celebrate the City of Georgetown’s POPPtoberFest event on the most beautiful town square in Texas. The festival, this year’s rescheduled Red Poppy Festival, kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, and runs through 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, with three days of music, entertainment, family fun, and more than 75 arts and craft vendors.

Event schedule

Dale Watson is the headliner Saturday night and takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. Two Tons of Steel and Brave Combo will open for Watson at 7:45 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Longtime festival favorite Dysfunkshun Junkshun is back for the Friday night concert at 7 p.m. The Peterson Brothers Band will perform 1:30 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission charge for the concerts or other festival activities. Feel free to bring your own chair and cooler (no glass) if you are coming for the day.

Other festival highlights include the Car Show at 10 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, come see the pet parade and meet City vehicles at 11 a.m. And make sure to stop by the City of Georgetown booth at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue to charge your devices, relax in the shade, and meet City staff.

The Kid’s Fun Zone is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Fun Zone is free and includes an obstacle course, a huge slide, a bounce house, a basketball game, and a toddler playground.

The City is offering a variety of options for visitors to get to POPPtoberFest.

Several free public parking lots are available throughout downtown, as well as a shuttle option Saturday.

“We’re hoping for perfect, fall weather for our POPPtober event,” Tourism Manager Cari Miller said. “Georgetown may feel like a small town, but this is going to be a big party. Folks need to plan to arrive early, be patient, and be prepared to be amongst hundreds of people, especially Saturday night.”

Event parking

The Williamson County parking garage at Rock and Fourth streets and the public parking lot on Austin Avenue between Fifth and Fourth streets (next to The Monument Cafe) will be open during the festival. Public parking lots on Martin Luther King Jr. Street at West Eighth and West Sixth streets are also available. There is no charge for parking.

Attendees are asked to be courteous when parking on neighborhood streets and avoid blocking driveways or parking in fire lanes. Illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed.

Handicap parking is available at the parking lot at 10th and Main streets.

The City parking lot at Sixth and Main streets will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30.

Free shuttle on Saturday

A free shuttle will run 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. The shuttle will pick up and drop off passengers at the First Baptist Church located at 1333 W. University Ave. The drop-off location is at the corner of Austin Avenue and Ninth Street.

There will be no GoGeo fixed-route bus services. People with a qualifying disability may receive paratransit services until 7 p.m. Friday. Eligible riders pay $2 per trip and must make a reservation 24 hours in advance. More information at gogeo.georgetown.org.

Street closures

Austin Avenue closes Friday morning: Starting at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, Austin Avenue will be closed from Sixth to Ninth streets. Traffic will be detoured to Rock Street. This is to allow the placement of the main festival stage. Austin Avenue will be closed through 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.

Other streets around the Courthouse Square will close at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, to allow for vendor set-up. Streets around the Square will remain closed through 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.

COVID-19 safety

Vendor tents will be spread out to at least 6 feet apart, allowing for increased social distancing between artists and attendees. The City will have hand-sanitizing stations throughout the festival.

While masks are not required outdoors or in City facilities, some private businesses may require them. Masks are encouraged whenever people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance from others, regardless of vaccination status or whether indoors or outside. Complimentary masks will be available at the Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., and the City of Georgetown booth located at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue.

The City is asking festival attendees to:

  • Stay home if they are sick or think they might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet away from others not in their group.
  • Wash/sanitize their hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Be respectful of the decisions of private business owners and individuals.

For a complete schedule and more details, including information on parking and road closures, visit POPPtoberFest.com.

Northwest Boulevard Bridge opened

City of Georgetown officials opened a new section of Northwest Boulevard, including a bridge over I-35, today.

The half-mile Northwest Boulevard project extended the road across the interstate with a new bridge spanning I-35 and connecting with Austin Avenue on the east side. The project connects to Rivery Boulevard via a traffic circle to the west. A future section on the east side will connect with FM 971.

The new bridge fulfills a key mobility goal for the City by providing a new east-west connection in the center of Georgetown. The bridge is the first east-west connection over I-35 in decades and provides an alternative to Williams Drive.

The Northwest Boulevard project was approved by Georgetown voters in the 2015 transportation bond election. Northwest Boulevard is the largest transportation project expected to be completed in Georgetown since the Southwest Bypass. The construction cost for the project was $8.2 million.

RPS was the design engineer on the project and Chasco Constructors was the contractor.

City launches performance dashboard

Georgetown residents and ratepayers can now see how the City is performing on key metrics through a public performance management dashboard.

The City of Georgetown launched a public dashboard highlighting a cross-section of performance metrics that provides residents with insights into department operations and services. The dashboard tracks eight different metrics across the City relating to communications, recreation, public safety, utilities, and development. The site is the City’s first iteration of a public-facing performance dashboard and will be updated on a semi-annual basis.

“We’re excited to provide residents an opportunity to see what we’re tracking and why,” City Manager David Morgan said. “This dashboard gives everyone a chance to understand how we’re doing and how we use this information to make decisions and improve City services.”

The metrics within the dashboard are a subset of metrics the City currently tracks internally through its Performance Management Program (PMP). The City’s PMP was established in 2017 to further integrate the City Council and City manager’s strategic planning with operations. The PMP helps staff monitor productivity and performance while identifying trends and patterns to determine whether a service is appropriately resourced.

People can submit questions and comments about the dashboard to ooe@georgetown.org. Find the dashboard at georgetown.org/pmp

 

 

Labor Day closings

City of Georgetown offices and facilities will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, for the Labor Day holiday. This includes these locations:

  • Airport Terminal and management offices, 500 Terminal Drive
  • Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Council and Courts Building (including Municipal Court), 510 W. Ninth St.
  • Georgetown Art Center, 816 S. Main St.
  • Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Planning Department, 809 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Public Library, 402 W. Eighth 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

The Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243, will be open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Swimming Pools and Aquatics

The Williams Drive pool at 3201 Williams Drive will be open 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, through Monday, Sept. 6. Find information at parks.georgetown.org/williams-drive-pool. Other outdoor, seasonal pools have closed for the summer season.

The splash pads at San Jose Park, 1707 San Jose St., Rabbit Hill Park, 1109 Blue Ridge Drive, and at the Art Center, 816 S. Main St., will remain open through September. The splash pad at Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243, will be open through October, weather permitting.

GoGeo bus service

There will be no service Monday, Sept. 6.

Recycling and solid waste

There will be regular recycling and solid waste collection for City of Georgetown customers on Monday, Sept. 6. Please place carts at the curb by 7 a.m. on your scheduled pickup day. For questions, call Texas Disposal Systems at (512) 930-1715.

The Collection Station at 250 W.L. Walden Drive will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 6.

Curative COVID-19 Testing Site

The COVID-19 testing site located at 707 South Martin Luther King Jr. Street (near the City of Georgetown Library) will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of Labor Day.

COVID-19 testing by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, click here.

 

 

Breakfast Bites: Lets Get Social

The Breakfast Bites meeting Sept. 9 will feature Rachel Hancock, owner of Something Social/Arkay Artwork, presenting on “Let’s Get Social.” The informal meeting opens at 8:45 a.m. on the patio behind 309 Coffee at 309 S. Main St. The presentation will start at 9 a.m.

Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers, but what platforms and tools are the most effective for your audience? Learn from Hancock in a special, hands-on program in which you are encouraged to bring your own device and follow along for tips, tricks, and new skills you can apply to your own social media accounts.

At the Sept. 9 program, 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. Wednesday, Sept. 8, online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/main-street-breakfast-bites-lets-get-social-tickets-167765227311.

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.