Founders Park, Grace Heritage reopen after renovations

The City and Preservation Georgetown will celebrate the reopening of Founders Park, at 814 S. Church St., and the Grace Heritage Center, 817 S. Main St., with consecutive ribbon-cutting ceremonies Dec. 13.

The free events will celebrate the recent completion of renovations at the adjacent facilities. Both projects were fully funded by the City of Georgetown.

“This investment by the City of Georgetown compliments the significant preservation and development efforts already completed and those that are underway in and around downtown,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said. “These projects further the City’s efforts to implement the Downtown Masterplan, helping to ensure Georgetown maintains its unique character, maximizes opportunities for thoughtful development, and enhances the quality of life for our residents.”

The mayor and representatives from Preservation Georgetown will help celebrate the reopening of Grace Heritage at 5:30 p.m. followed by the ribbon cutting at Founders Park at 6 p.m. The Grace Heritage reopening celebration will also include Preservation Georgetown’s annual presentation, as well as light refreshments.

Renovations at Founders Park were completed in early December and included expanded public seating, a new water fountain and trash cans, and a seat wall. All historical items in the park were repurposed, and a full irrigation system was installed. The $62,000 project was completed in 10 weeks by Smith Contracting.

The park is the site where Williamson County’s first commissioners met under an oak tree in 1848 to choose a location for the county seat.

The Grace Heritage Center, which was constructed in 1881, is the earliest surviving wood-framed church in Georgetown. Throughout the years, the building has been relocated twice and is currently located one block north of its original location. Over the years and because of the moves, much of the historic materials have been replaced. However, the configuration and most of the original structure remains.

The $418,000 renovation project took about two months to complete and included replacing the exterior siding and trim, cleaning out the belfry and replacing the roof on the central tower. The project also included adding netting to the belfry to prevent birds from nesting. The project also included foundation work, relocating the ramp from the side of the building to the back of the building, and replacing the front and back steps.

Swim with Santa at the Georgetown Recreation Center

Families are invited to swim with Santa on Friday, Dec. 15, at the Georgetown Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Ave. Grab your suits and your camera and bring the entire family for a chance to swim with the big man himself! The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the indoor pool.

This holiday event will also include a screening of classic holiday films, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Frosty Returns,” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” and hot chocolate and candy canes will be served.

This event is free for Georgetown Recreation Center members. Entry fees for nonmembers are: Free (newborns-3 years), $2 (ages 4-18 and age 55 and older), $3 (ages 19-54).

For more information, visit parks.georgetown.org/swim-with-santa.

Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 16

The 17th annual pancake Breakfast with Santa event is Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Community Center, 445 E. Morrow St. in San Gabriel Park. Georgetown firefighters will be making pancakes and sausage served with juice and coffee. The event is 7:30 to 11 a.m.

At the event, children can climb on board a fire truck, visit with firefighters, and have a free picture taken with Santa.

Tickets are $6 per person and can be purchased at the door on the day of the event or in advance at the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, 3500 D.B. Wood Road. Children age 12 and younger are free with a paid adult.

Breakfast with Santa is sponsored by the Georgetown Fire Department, Rotary Club of Georgetown – Sun City, Assistance League of Georgetown, YMCA of Greater Williamson County, and Georgetown ISD.

All proceeds from Breakfast with Santa, as well as other fundraising, provides clothing, food, and gifts for children in the Georgetown area. Breakfast with Santa aims to help 180 children in need in Georgetown, provide clothing and gift cards to homeless teenagers in Georgetown served by The Georgetown Project’s NEST program, and provide help to Jarrell’s UMC Christmas outreach program.

Tax-deductible donations are accepted to help fund Breakfast with Santa. Checks should be made out to “Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation” with “Sun City Rotary – BWS” on the memo line. Mail the donation check to Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation, 116 W. Eighth St., Ste. 203, Georgetown, TX, 78626.

For details, contact the Georgetown Fire Department at (512) 930-3473.

City introduces holiday lights recycling

The City of Georgetown has partnered with Texas Disposal Systems to offer free holiday string-light recycling to all Georgetown residents. Georgetown is the first city in Central Texas to offer this service.

Residents can drop off their old or broken string lights until Jan. 31 at one of three collection locations:

  • City of Georgetown Collection and Transfer Station, 250 W.L. Walden Road
  • Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.

Sun City residents may also drop off old or broken string lights at the Cowan Creek Pavilion, 1433 Cool Springs Way, in Sun City.

String lights should not be placed in residential or commercial recycling bins because they can damage the sorting machines at the recycling center. String lights must be taken to a collection location. The program is limited to string lights. Yard art, inflatables and other holiday lighting will not be collected.

Sculpture Tour awards announced

Kite sculptureThe City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board has awarded Austin sculptor Mary Morse the first prize award in the 2017-18 Sculpture Tour, a juried year-long outdoor exhibit in the busy Georgetown Cultural District. Morse won for her piece “Kite,” a bronze piece that depicts a woman on a beach gazing up into the sky.

Second Prize went to Anthony St. James for his piece “Freshwater Cowgirl,” a steel sculpture depicting a swimming mermaid holding a blue butterfly.

The seven other sculptures receiving honorable mentions include:

Cindy Debold, “Imagination”
Peter Mangan, “Blood Brother”
Sun McColgin, “Thor’s Hammer” and “Tanzanian Torpedo”
Dan Pogue, “Mystic Flight”
Jay Schaan, “Ladder Man”
Dave Speer, “Barn Martian”

The board selected these nine sculpture pieces from a total of 41 pieces submitted for consideration by 21 artists. Sculptures will remain on display through October.

Five of the works are installed on Main Street and four are located outside the Ninth Street entrance to the Georgetown Public Library, including “Kite” and “Freshwater Cowgirl.”

For more information, including a map of the sculpture tour and images of the sculptures, visit arts.georgetown.org/art/sculpture-tour.

Trout Fishing Derby on Dec. 9

Catch a fish and win a prize. Georgetown Parks and Recreation will host a Trout Fishing Derby on Saturday, Dec. 9. This family-friendly event takes place at San Gabriel Park from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Admission into the derby is $3 per person, and spectators are invited to watch at no charge. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Please limit one fishing pole per person. A fishing permit is required for participants aged 17 and older. Permits will not be sold at the event. Bait will be available for purchase for $5.

Any trout caught will win a prize! Anyone can fish, but you must be registered in order to win prizes. Prizes are first-come, first-served and there is a 5 fish/3 prize limit.

For more information, visit parks.georgetown.org/fishing-derby.

Breakfast Bites: Secrets from a Secret Shopper

The next Breakfast Bites meeting on Dec. 6 will feature Alysia Cook on the topic of Secrets from a Secret Shopper. The informal meeting starts at 8 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. The talk will start at 8:30 a.m. Coffee and light breakfast snacks will be provided. Breakfast Bites is a quarterly meeting of the Georgetown Main Street Program.

Cook has secret shopped many of the businesses in Georgetown during the past several weeks and will be presenting her findings during her presentation, which will also include specific ways for businesses to improve customer service during the holiday shopping season. She will also share tips on attracting locals and tourists, as well as specific ideas that are easy to implement.

Cook is principal of Austin-based Opportunity Strategies LLC, which offers customized training, professional facilitation, and strategic planning. She also serves on the Texas Downtown Association board of directors.

At the Dec. 6 meeting there will also be updates from City staff on:

• Art Center and Public Library events
• Downtown sidewalk projects
• Founders Park update
• Convention and Visitors Bureau updates
• Downtown sales tax trends
• Downtown West
• Parking Enforcement update

Also, learn about updates from downtown partner organizations and find out about new businesses in the downtown district that have opened or are under construction.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, to Kim McAuliffe, downtown development manager for the City of Georgetown, at (512) 930-2027 or at kim.mcauliffe@georgetown.org.

Seek the unique on Small Business Saturday

Shoppers will have the chance to Shop Small at local merchants during the annual Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, Nov. 25.

This year’s theme is The Art of Shopping Small…Seek the Unique. Visit local businesses to find one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays.

The day will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Georgetown Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh St., where shoppers can pick up special Shop Small shopping bags and participate in a bingo card game for the chance to win a gift basket filled with restaurant gift cards, art, and local goods.

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

For more information, visit mainstreet.georgetown.org/play/shop-small.

Thanksgiving holiday city facility closings

City of Georgetown offices and facilities will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Nov. 24, 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. 23-24 include the following:

  • Animal Shelter, 110 Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 113 E. Eighth St.
  • Economic Development, 809 Martin Luther King Jr. St.
  • Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
  • Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave.
  • Municipal Court, 101 E. Seventh St.
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College St.
  • Planning, 406 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

Other Facility Closures

The facilities listed below will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23, and open these hours on Friday, Nov. 24:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Collection 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 7 p.m.

The Georgetown Public Library will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22, and reopen for normal hours at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Solid Waste & Recycling

There will be no trash or recycling pickup for Texas Disposal Systems customers in the City of Georgetown on Thursday, Nov. 23. 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 Collection Station at 250 W. L. Walden Drive will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving Day), but open regular hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 24.

Note that the Williamson County Recycle Center at 495 CR 156, which accepts vouchers for household hazardous waste, is closed Sunday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 26.

 

Lighting of the Square on Nov. 24

Celebrate the holiday season on the day after Thanksgiving at the annual Lighting of the Square event on Friday, Nov. 24.  The event will be held on the east steps of the historic Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main St., in downtown Georgetown. The festivities include entertainment from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer and Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross will flip the switch illuminating the Courthouse lights and grounds at approximately 6 p.m. The lights around the Square are supported by Georgetown Utility Systems, your community-owned utility making our city 100% renewable in 2018.

Entertainment during the Lighting of the Square will be provided by the Austin Carolers and refreshments will be provided. Stores will be open until 8 p.m. Stop by The Williamson Museum on Nov. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. for children’s activities.

Participants are encouraged to take photographs and post to social media with the hashtags #LightTheSquare and #GeorgetownHolidays.

Williamson County Brown Santa will offer pictures with Santa for a $10 donation in the historic Courthouse after the lighting event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Enter the courthouse on the south side.

Toy donations to Williamson County Brown Santa and the Georgetown Police Department Blue Santa are encouraged. A donation barrel for Williamson County Brown Santa will be available in the courthouse, and a barrel for Blue Santa will be available at All Things Kids on Main Street. More information and applications are available at www.wilcobrownsanta.com for Brown Santa or bluesanta.georgetown.org for Blue Santa.

For details on holiday events and activities in Georgetown, call the Georgetown Convention & Visitors Bureau at (512) 930-3545, or visit or VisitGeorgetown.com.