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.

Proposed Voluntary Annexation of 36.21 Acres

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits. A Public Hearing will be held at the December 8, 2020 meeting at 6:00pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 510 W. 9th Street.
The area being considered for voluntary annexation is an approximately 35.298-acre tract of land out of the F. Hudson Survey, Abstract No. 295, and a 0.902-acre portion of Rabbit Hill Road, a variable width roadway, generally located at 1051 Rabbit Hill Rd, to be known as Aaker Acres (2020-10-ANX).
After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation.
For additional information, please contact Nat Waggoner in the Planning Department, 512-930-3584 or email at nat.waggoner@georgetown.org.

Shop Small Business Saturday and support local businesses

Shoppers are invited to Shop Small, Shop Local with local merchants during the annual Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, Nov. 28.

Celebrate the season and support a small business by shopping local this holiday season. Participating retailers and restaurants will have specials available just in time to kick-off the holiday season.

Join the Shop Small game and earn points to win prizes by downloading Eventzee in the app store. To join the event in the app, use event name: Shop Small GTX and join code: Shop Small.

The annual Small Business Saturday event is sponsored by the Georgetown Main Street Program, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Georgetown Association.

Due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in Williamson County, masks or face coverings are required and participants should maintain physical distancing from others not in their household. Good hand hygiene is also encouraged. Find out more at bit.ly/COVID19GTX.

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.

Thanksgiving holiday City facility closings

City of Georgetown offices and facilities will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. There is no solid waste or recycling collection on Thanksgiving Day (details below).

City facilities and offices closed Nov. 26-27 include the following:

  • Animal Shelter, 110 W.L. Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Economic Development, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Municipal Court, 510 W. Ninth St.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Planning, 809 Martin Luther King Jr. 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

Other Facility Closures

The facilities listed below will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26, and open these hours on Friday, Nov. 27:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Garey Park, 6450 RM 2243, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Transfer Station, 250 W. L. Walden Drive, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Georgetown Public Library will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and reopen for curbside service from 10 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28.

GoGeo bus service

There will be no GoGeo bus service on Thursday, Nov. 26, Friday, Nov. 27, or Saturday, Nov. 28. Buses will resume normal operation on Monday, Nov. 30.

Solid Waste & Recycling

There will be no trash or recycling pickup for Texas Disposal Systems customers in the City of Georgetown on Thursday, Nov. 26. Solid waste collection for Thursday and Friday slides one day:

  • Thursday slides to Friday
  • Friday slides to Saturday

Solid waste and recycling carts should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on pickup day. For questions, call TDS at (512) 930-1715.

The Transfer Station at 250 W. L. Walden Drive will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day), but open regular hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 27.

District 2 runoff election called, Mayor Schroeder and Jonrowe sworn in

Nov. 17, 2020—City Council passed a resolution during Tuesday’s special meeting to call a runoff election for District 2. Shawn Hood and Lisa King, who won the most votes in the Nov. 3 election, are the candidates in the runoff.

Early voting dates for the runoff election are Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 7-11. Election Day is Dec. 15. The early voting location is Georgetown City Hall, 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St.

Also during the meeting, Josh Schroeder was sworn in as mayor and Rachael Jonrowe was sworn in for a fourth term as District 6 representative.

Council members also expressed their appreciation to Dale Ross for his 6.5 years as mayor and three years as a council member, as well as to Valerie Nicholson for three years as representative for District 2.

 

Georgetown Animal Shelter organizes donation drive for GivingTuesday

The Georgetown Animal Shelter and the Friends of the Georgetown Animal Shelter will kick off the generosity season by hosting a drive-through donation event for homeless dogs and cats for GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday, which falls on Dec. 1 this year, is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world. The shelter and its nonprofit partner, Friends of the Georgetown Animal Shelter, will inspire generosity by organizing a donation drive for shelter pets Dec. 1-5, 2020.

“We are thrilled to join GivingTuesday this year,” FOGAS president Sharon Buford said. “Our usual fundraising and other events were canceled because of the pandemic. GivingTuesday allows us the opportunity to work with the community for the first time in months.”

Volunteers and shelter staff will be accepting donations next to the Georgetown Public Library, in the parking lot at West Eighth Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Donors can look for the colorful adoption trailer to locate volunteers. Employees and volunteers will be stationed at the trailer from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 1-4, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.

“We’re hoping to fill the trailer with pet supplies to last us through the holiday season,” Animal Services Manager April Haughey said. “The Georgetown community always floods us with donations this time of year, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them!”

Haughey said the organizations are hoping to collect dry pet food, new toys for dogs and cats, small blankets, leashes, and other items.

Those who are interested in donating to the animal shelter’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit pets.georgetown.org for a wish list of specific items and the donation drive schedule.

The shelter also has an Amazon Wish List with needed items, such as food, specialized toys, and cleaning items at tinyurl.com/WoofPurr. A portion of the money you spend on Amazon can also be donated to the shelter by selecting the animal shelter as your designated nonprofit on Amazon Smile.

Georgetown Animal Services is located near San Gabriel Park and is currently operating by appointment only. It has been serving Georgetown for decades as the open-intake municipal shelter for the City. Friends of the Georgetown Animal Shelter formed in 2010 to support the shelter’s mission. Learn more at friendsofgtownshelter.org.

Breakfast Bites: Building Community Through Arts and Culture

The Breakfast Bites meeting on Dec. 3 will feature Amanda Still, City of Georgetown Arts and Culture coordinator, and Jane Estes, the City’s Arts and Culture Board chair, presenting on “Building Community Through Arts and Culture.” The informal meeting opens at 8:15 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Council & Court building, 510 W. Ninth St. The presentation will start at 8:30 a.m. and will include both an in-person and virtual attendee option. Limited seating is available to attend in person, and participants must register in advance.

The presentation will cover the growing affect arts and culture is having in Georgetown from building community to impacting economic development and cultural tourism, as well as creating collaborative partnerships between businesses and the arts.

The meeting will also include City and community updates.

Participants attending in person will be required 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.

Breakfast Bites is a quarterly meeting of the Georgetown Main Street Program. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, online at https://bit.ly/3lr7nPF.

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.

Citizen advisory committee proposes project list for Mobility Georgetown Bond 2021

The City of Georgetown is putting together a mobility bond package for a vote by its residents in May 2021 and wants public feedback on a proposed list of projects.

The 16-member Mobility Georgetown 2021 Citizen Advisory Committee met throughout August, September, and October to narrow down a list of projects for the bond program that address Georgetown’s overall transportation challenges, limit the burden to taxpayers, and reflect the public priorities shared through a digital survey this summer.

From Nov. 16 to Dec. 7, members of the public can use an interactive, online map tool to indicate whether they support the proposed projects, as well as provide comments on each of the projects. The public can also use the survey tool to provide recommendations for projects not included in the 10 projects identified by the committee. Printed versions of the survey, in both English and Spanish languages, will be available at City facilities.

The citizen committee members want to understand the level of support for the top 10 projects they identified before making a final recommendation to City Council. In addition to the proposed 10 roadway projects, the committee also is considering allocating $2.5 million for sidewalks, $1.5 million for bike facilities, $1.7 million for intersection projects, and $1.3 million for transportation technology upgrades. Not all of the proposed projects will move forward. City Council initially targeted about $50 million for the bond package, and the 10 proposed projects alone total about $165 million. The committee will review the feedback prior to making its final recommendations to City Council in January 2021.

Virtual Town Hall Event: The public also will have an opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and provide comments via a virtual, live, town hall event. People can tune in from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, on Zoom and the City’s Facebook page to hear more about how the committee developed the proposed project list and more about each project. People can submit comments via Facebook comment or by emailing pio@georgetown.org prior to the event ending. The town hall will be recorded and shared on the bond website as part of a virtual open house. The agenda and meeting information will be available on agendas.georgetown.org.

The primary focus areas of this mobility bond are:

  • Increasing capacity of Georgetown’s roadway network and bridges with high traffic volume.
  • Improving intersections, building sidewalks, and enhancing safety throughout Georgetown to create new connections within and among neighborhoods.
  • Coordinating with other planned transportation work, including projects identified in our Pedestrian and Bike master plans, to accelerate delivery to Georgetown residents

For more information about the bond process, visit bonds.georgetown.org.