Public input sought for parks and recreation master plan

The City of Georgetown is looking for community input to guide decisions on the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan through a digital survey. The survey is open July 12 through Sunday, July 25.

The survey also was mailed to a random sample of 4,000 Georgetown households to collect statistically valid results. People who received the survey in the mail should follow the instructions instead of responding to the open-link survey. The open-link survey will give all residents an opportunity to provide feedback, and all responses will be included in the final analysis, which the City expects to share with the public by the end of August.

“The results of this survey will create a priority blueprint for where we can improve, how to grow responsibly, and what programs and recreational opportunities our community needs,” Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Garrett said.

The master plan will provide a vision for the Parks and Recreation Department and act as a guide during the next 10 years. The master plan will prioritize the community’s desires for upgrading and improving parks and recreational assets to develop goals, policies, and guidelines, as well as an implementation plan. There will be several opportunities for public input throughout the master planning process, which is expected to be completed by January 2022. So far, public engagement to develop the master plan has included a community questionnaire and a public forum in May.

During the master plan process, consultants GreenPlay will look at the existing parks, recreational facilities, and services, and use public input to determine the future level of services that will be needed. GreenPlay also is conducting a needs assessment survey to determine priorities for the parks and recreation system, facilities, and activities; identify potential funding sources and partnerships; and create a plan for how best to support the parks and recreational needs of the community.

To take the survey and learn more about the master plan process, visit gtxparkplan.com.

City begins street maintenance projects this summer

Street resurfacing projects, including a high-performance surface seal treatment and hot-in-place recycling, will be completed throughout the summer.

The work schedule can be affected by weather conditions, mechanical issues, and product availability. For updates on the paving schedule and a complete list of projects, visit transportation.georgetown.org/2021-street-maintenance-projects.

The City is using two types of street maintenance applications:

High-performance surface seal

As part of this surface treatment, a sealant is applied to the surface of the roadway, reducing damage from UV radiation, water, and vehicle traffic.

On the day work is scheduled for surface seal treatment in the Old Mill Crossing, Pleasant Valley, Quail Valley, and portions of Sun City neighborhoods, the streets will be closed to traffic and street parking from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Work scheduled in portions of Berry Creek, Gatlin Creek, and Lakeside at Lake Georgetown will close streets for 24 hours from 7 a.m.-7 a.m.

Hot-in-place recycling

Hot-in-place recycling is an alternative to mill and asphalt overlay in which existing pavement is removed, ground, and mixed with new material to create a new asphalt surface.

Streets will not be closed during repaving; however, drivers should expect delays and are encouraged to choose alternate routes. Flaggers will be present to assist drivers.

For questions about street maintenance projects, contact customercare@georgetown.org.

Council Member Jonrowe resigns

Georgetown District 6 Council Member Rachael Jonrowe has resigned from her seat effective July 6, 2021. She cited personal reasons for her decision when she announced her intention to resign in June.

“Serving on behalf of the residents of District 6 for the last 10 [plus] years has been the honor of a lifetime, and I look forward to being able to continue to connect and serve with many of them, as a friend, in the years ahead,” Jonrowe posted to her official Facebook page Tuesday. “I wish everyone full measures of grace, empathy, and wisdom, as our community continues to deliberate, debate, and vote on issues of vital importance to the current generation and those to come. And I encourage us all to actively search out opportunities to include people with different experiences and points of view in these decisions. I believe we all benefit when we do so…and listen to their voices.”

Jonrowe was serving her fourth term on City Council, after being most recently reelected in November 2020. The City Charter and the Texas Constitution require a special election within 120 days of a vacancy, which coincides with the Nov. 2, 2021, election.

“While I was surprised and saddened by Jonrowe’s resignation from City Council, I fully support her decision to prioritize her family and her health,” Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “I thank her for her service to this community and wish her well in her future endeavors. I know that she will remain an active participant in Georgetown. I look forward to working with the next representative of District 6.”

Jonrowe served on multiple boards during her time on the council, including the boards for the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation, the Downtown Georgetown tax increment reinvestment zone board, the Transportation Advisory Board, and the Animal Shelter Advisory Board. As a volunteer in the community, she has helped organize letter-writing, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote drives and works to encourage greater diversity and participation in local government.

While a City Council member, Jonrowe was committed to encouraging more people to “be aware of who their representatives are, get involved, and encourage accountability and transparency.” She said her personal goal, as an elected representative, was to do her part to make sure decisions made at City Council reflected the needs and desires of her district and benefited the people of Georgetown.

Jonrowe was born and raised in Austin and moved to Georgetown in May 2006. Jonrowe and her husband, Brian, have four children, and she is a co-owner of Lark & Owl Booksellers, 205 Sixth St., Ste. 101.

Kittens in the Library

The Georgetown Animal Shelter will host a kitten adoption event from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 16 at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.

The shelter will bring kittens available for adoption to the library, where there will be opportunities to meet, pet, and, hopefully, adopt some kittens.

Adoption fees are $35 at the event, and kittens will be able to go straight home with their new families. A cardboard carrier and kitten food will be provided to adopters.

For more information about animal adoptions, visit pets.georgetown.org.

Public comment sought on proposed City Charter amendments

Georgetown City Council will host a public hearing July 13 during its regular meeting to get feedback on proposed amendments to the City’s charter.

The City Charter is the legal document establishing a municipality and defines the structure, powers, functions, and procedures of local government.

City Staff and members of the council-appointed Charter Review Committee identified several potential charter amendments, which were presented to the council at its May 25 workshop for discussion and direction from City Council. Direction from the council was sent back to the committee for consideration and to be drafted into a final report that outlined the committee’s recommendations to the council.

At its June 8 meeting, City Council reviewed the committee’s final recommendations and gave its recommendations for charter amendments.

Proposed amendments include changes related to:

  1. Term limits
  2. Council qualifications
  3. Council vacancies
  4. Rules of procedures
  5. Procedures to enact legislation
  6. Franchise agreement notifications
  7. Public lead initiative, referendum, and recall requirements
  8. City structure language

Details of proposed changes can be found at Georgetown.org/2021-charter-amendment-election.

The council is expected to consider the first reading to call a charter amendment election at its July 27 meeting. The second reading would be Aug. 10.

If approved, the charter amendments would be on the Nov. 2 ballot. Early voting and Election Day information will be listed at wilco.org/elections.

City facility closings on July 5

City offices and facilities will be closed Monday, July 5, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. Unless otherwise stated below, facilities and services will have their normal operating hours Friday and Saturday, July 2 and 3.

Facilities closed on Monday include:

    • Airport management offices (terminal will be open), 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

Details about other holiday closures for City facilities and services can be found here.

Pools Schedule for July 4 and 5

Friday through Monday, July 2 through 5, the outdoor pools at Village and Williams Drive will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. each day.

The outdoor pool at the Recreation Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 2, and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The outdoor Recreation Center pool will be closed Sunday and Monday, July 4 and 5.

The River Ridge pool will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 5. It will be closed Friday through Sunday, July 2-4.

The outdoor splash pads at San Jose Park, Rabbit Hill Park, and downtown at Ninth and Main streets will be operating July 2 through 5.

July 4 fireworks show

The Sertoma Club will provide a July 4 fireworks display in San Gabriel Park at dusk Sunday, July 4.

GoGeo bus service

There will be no service Monday, July 5. GoGeo does not provide services on Sundays.

Regular solid waste and recycling collection

There will be regular solid waste and recycling collection for City of Georgetown customers on Friday and Monday, July 2 and 5. For questions about trash or recycling collection, call Texas Disposal Systems at 512-930-1715.

The Collection Station at 250 W.L. Walden Drive will be open normal hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Monday, July 2 and 5.

Personal fireworks prohibited

By City of Georgetown ordinance, fireworks are not allowed in the city limits of Georgetown or within 5,000 feet of the city limits, unless they are used in a permitted display authorized by the Georgetown Fire Department. This area outside city limits includes, but is not limited to, the neighborhoods of Cedar Hollow, Crystal Knoll, Escalera, Fountainwood, Indian Creek, Logan Ranch Road, Lost Rivers, Oak Crest, Olde Oak Estates, Serenada, Shady Oaks, Turtle Bend, and Woodland Park, Northlake subdivision, and areas along D.B. Wood Road.

Violations can lead to fines of up to $2,000 per firework. To view a map showing the 5,000-foot boundary, go to

https://gis.wilco.org/maps/?viewer=countymapxdev.

To view firework exemptions permissible by City code, visit https://bit.ly/2CSOnIg.

Fireworks can be triggering for veterans and pets

Please remember that loud noises like fireworks can be triggering for our veterans.

Fireworks also can be upsetting for pets. Please do not bring dogs to the July 4 event in San Gabriel Park and make sure your dog(s) is secure inside your home, particularly during the evenings of the holiday weekend. Georgetown animal control officers pick up several loose dogs around the Fourth of July and New Year’s holidays, many of whom are never reunited with their owners.

If your dog has a tendency to become anxious at loud noises, please consider staying home with the animal; playing music in the house to drown out the noise of fireworks; and/or buying a product that “hugs” the dog. Your veterinarian also may be able to provide a tranquilizer for the dog.

For more ideas on keeping your dog safe this holiday, please see the article, “10 Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips.

Eric Johnson named Georgetown Public Works director

Eric Johnson was selected to serve as the director of the City of Georgetown’s Public Works Department starting June 28. After a nationwide search, Johnson was chosen from a number of qualified applicants. He started with the City as the capital improvement projects manager in July 2015 and was promoted to facilities director in January 2020.

“Eric has been instrumental in managing several, complex projects successfully, including renovating City Hall and the Council and Courts building and constructing new fire stations,” City Manager David Morgan said. “His expertise in leading teams and bringing people together is what we need to meet the demands of a fast-growing city.”

Johnson is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in construction science. He has more than 20 years of experience in municipal government. He served as assistant transportation manager for the City of Midland, Texas, for eight years before coming to Georgetown. Prior to that, he worked for seven years as the projects and facilities manager for the City of Hurst, Texas. Johnson has professional training in the fundamentals of construction contracts and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He graduated from Leadership Georgetown in 2017.

“Being raised in the area, I finally found my way back home six years ago, and Georgetown has been an amazing community to live, work, and play,” Johnson said. “I am most excited about expanding my capacity with the City of Georgetown to include Public Works and Facilities to help make a daily difference to the residents who love to be here as much as I do. The position of public works director touches every part of this wonderful City, and I look forward to leading an already fantastic group of men and women.”

Johnson will retain many of his responsibilities as facilities director in his new role. Public Works has 48 employees who work in several areas, including streets, signs/signals, drainage, storm management, environmental services, transportation planning, airport, and facilities capital improvement and maintenance. He will provide the City representation for state, regional, and local project development with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Capital Area Council of Governments. He will also be responsible for the administration, updates to, and enforcement of the City’s Overall Transportation Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, Airport Master Plan, and Solid Waste Master Plan.

July 4 Celebration at San Gabriel Park

[UPDATE: Fireworks may start at about 9:15 p.m.]

The Georgetown Sertoma Club will have a fireworks display at dusk Sunday, July 4, in San Gabriel Park for its 38th annual Family July 4 Celebration. The parade and other festivities normally included in the celebration have been canceled.

“Several months ago, a joint decision was made by the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Sertoma Club not to hold this year’s festivities in San Gabriel Park due to COVID,” Georgetown Sertoma Club President Lauri Tulloch said. “Since then, we have seen improved conditions. It’s much too late for the necessary planning of events, but we are thrilled to be able to provide the fireworks show.”

The fireworks display begins at about 9:15 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from the McMaster Athletic Fields on North College Street. Fireworks can be viewed from San Gabriel Park, VFW Park, and other areas in Georgetown. The best entrance to San Gabriel Park for the event via Morrow Street on North Austin Avenue. The free event is sponsored by the Georgetown Sertoma Club service organization with assistance from the City of Georgetown.

Please do not bring dogs to the July 4 event.

Parking

There is limited parking in San Gabriel Park. Attendees also are encouraged to park at Georgetown High School and carpool to San Gabriel Park. Limited handicapped parking is available in the designated area on the south side of San Gabriel Park.

Both the McMaster Fields parking lot and the Parks and Recreation Administration parking lot at North College Street and W.L. Walden Drive will be closed on July 4 due to their proximity to the fireworks fall zone.

College Street and McMaster Fields closure

Due to the fireworks fall zone, North College Street will be closed Sunday, July 4, from about 9 to 11 p.m. between the traffic circle and Holly Street. Parking, standing, or sitting along that segment of North College Street will not be permitted during this time.

The McMaster Athletic Fields will be closed all day Sunday, July 4.

Personal fireworks prohibited

By City of Georgetown ordinance, fireworks are not allowed in the city limits of Georgetown or within 5,000 feet of the city limits, unless they are used in a permitted display authorized by the Georgetown Fire Department. This area outside city limits includes, but is not limited to, the neighborhoods of Cedar Hollow, Crystal Knoll, Escalera, Fountainwood, Indian Creek, Logan Ranch Road, Lost Rivers, Oak Crest, Olde Oak Estates, Serenada, Shady Oaks, Turtle Bend, and Woodland Park, and areas along D.B Wood Road.

Violations can lead to fines of up to $2,000 per firework. To view a map showing the 5,000-foot boundary, go here.

Additionally, please make sure your dog is secure inside your home, particularly during the evenings of the holiday weekend. Georgetown animal control officers pick up several loose dogs around the Fourth of July and New Year’s holidays, many of whom are never reunited with their owners.

City riverbank cleanup event rescheduled to June 26

The City of Georgetown has rescheduled the riverbank cleanup event in San Gabriel Park to June 26. Volunteers can check-in for the event beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the white tent near the red poppy playground, which is located on the north end of the park. A safety briefing will be held at 8:55 a.m. The cleanup will be from 9-10 a.m.

Volunteers who registered for the original date June 5 do not need to reregister.

During the event, trash bags and gloves, as well as light snacks and drinks, will be provided. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing such as long pants, hats, and sunglasses, as well as comfortable closed-toe shoes.

Individuals interested in volunteering can email MS4Operator@georgetown.org to register or sign up online at transportation.georgetown.org/river-cleanup. The cleanup event may be canceled in case of bad weather. Follow the City’s social media pages for updates: facebook.com/cityofgeorgetown and twitter.com/georgetowntx.

Call for Arts and Culture grant proposals now open

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board is now inviting grant proposals for events and programs occurring between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, as part of the 2021 round two grant period. The deadline for submitting for this grant period is June 30, 2021.

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board awards grants twice each year for visual art, music, theatre, dance, literary, and cultural heritage events and programs taking place in Georgetown, as well as organizational development initiatives including board training, strategic planning, and professional development. All applicants are considered without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.

Nonprofit organizations, schools, and informal arts and culture organizations creating arts and culture programming, organizational development, or an event open to the public are eligible to apply. Organizations that received funding in the 2021 round one grant period are not eligible to apply for 2021 round two.

For more information and to submit a proposal, please visit the grant page at arts.georgetown.org/grants.