Sculpture exhibit at Library opens June 25

The Texas Society of Sculptors opens their 10th annual summer show on June 25 in the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. The exhibit, hosted by the Library with sponsorship from the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board, showcases 85 works of art by 34 artists.

The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 22. Most of the pieces in the exhibit are available for purchase.

This year a new award will be added: the People’s Choice award will be given based on votes by Library visitors. Ask a library staff member for a ballot, and vote for your favorite pieces. The winning sculptor will receive a cash prize.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception for the exhibit on Sunday, July 16, at 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Library. Mari Ramirez, president of Georgetown Art Works, will jury the awards for the exhibit. Music begins downstairs at 2 p.m. with performers from Austin Opera’s upcoming season.

A sculpture demonstration will take place in the lobby of the Library on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. Several of this year’s featured sculptors will demonstrate their techniques and processes in clay, bronze, wood, metal, and stone.

One of this year’s exhibit pieces, Library Girl, was begun as a demonstration piece at last year’s sculpture demonstration.

Two sculpture pieces in the show are pictured: Psychobilly Hell Bass by John Mark Luke (left) and Library Girl by Vera Smiley (above right).

Juneteenth celebration June 17

The 65th annual Juneteenth celebration in Georgetown is Saturday, June 17, at the Community Center at 445 E. Morrow St. in San Gabriel Park. The Georgetown Cultural Citizen Memorial Association hosts the annual public event which is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Juneteenth event schedule

The event starts at 11 a.m. with a panel and a gospel choir performance. Panelists addressing the theme of “An Emancipated Mind: The Greatest Freedom of All” include Malakhi Perry, a local high school student, Johanna Thomas, attorney and Georgetown native, and Indigo Morgan, a Southwestern University graduate and seminary graduate. (Performers from the 2016 Juneteenth event pictured at right.)

A barbecue lunch for $5 per plate follows the opening program. The event also includes vendors, a jewelry display, a raffle, and games for youth and adults.

After lunch, there will be 15-minute interactive presentations with Annie Mae Williams City, who is 102 years of age and will read some of her original poems, Marjorie Anderson, who will talk about her book on teens and finance, Selena Payne, a writer and Southwestern University student, Georgetown police officer Delta Jolly, and Tashana Morgan, a local pastor and business owner.

Juneteenth history

Juneteenth marks the day on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed at Galveston and reported that the Civil War was over and slavery had ended. The Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves had been in effect since January 1, 1863, but word did not reach Texas for more than two years. Juneteenth was declared an official state holiday in Texas in 1980.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Paulette Taylor, president of GCCMA, at (512) 863-2109, or Joyce Gadison at (512) 887-7899.

Breakfast Bites on downtown strategy

Downtown retail and development will be the focus of the next Breakfast Bites Wednesday, June 14. The quarterly event is sponsored by the Georgetown Economic Development Department and features current downtown topics and trends.

Jason Claunch, principal and CEO of Catalyst, will present on the retail merchandising strategy for downtown. The downtown strategy goes beyond retail and touches on other areas of development for downtown.

The City of Georgetown Economic Development Department worked with Catalyst to complete the Retail Strategy and Recruitment Plan last year. The Plan includes analysis of the retail environment in Georgetown, including the downtown district, and an implementation plan. To read the plan or find out more about it, go to invest.georgetown.org/retail-strategy-and-recruitment-plan.

The event on June 14 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. at Grace Heritage Center, 811 S. Main St. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking begins at 8 a.m. The event is free and open to all.

Attendees should register by contacting Kim McAuliffe, downtown development manager for the City of Georgetown, at Kim.Mcauliffe@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027.

Census: Georgetown is Fifth Fastest-Growing City in U.S.

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau released yesterday shows that Georgetown is ranked fifth on the list of fastest-growing cities in the country with a population of more than 50,000. Georgetown’s growth rate was 5.5 percent from July 1, 2015, through July 1, 2016, resulting in a population estimate of 67,140.

Georgetown was the fastest-growing city in the U.S. on the list released last year by the census for the period from July 1, 2014, through July 1, 2015. Georgetown was the second-fastest growing city in the U.S. in the prior year.

Georgetown’s population was 47,400 in the 2010 decennial census. According to today’s estimate, Georgetown added 19,740 residents with a growth rate of 42 percent from 2010 to 2016.

“It’s not surprising that Georgetown continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country,” says Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross. “Georgetown has what many are looking for—beautiful parks and trails, great schools, and a gorgeous historic downtown with one-of-a-kind shops. We are one of the safest towns in the state and we’ve been recognized internationally for moving to 100 percent wind and solar energy next year. We also have quality city staff and an outstanding city council who, with the support of our residents, have made investments in facilities and roads to ensure that we can support quality growth while preserving our unique charm.”

The news release from the Census about the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. in 2015 to 2016 is at www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/cb17-81-population-estimates-subcounty.html.

Austin Avenue Bridges: Public Comment on Options by May 26

The City of Georgetown is seeking public input on options for repairing or replacing the Austin Avenue Bridges that span the north and south forks of the San Gabriel River. Public comments should be submitted on or before Friday, May 26 in order to be included in the official public record for the public open house held on May 11.

Deficiencies in the bridges that were built in 1940 were noted in Texas Department of Transportation inspection reports in 2013 and 2015. Since then, a project team has been studying the bridges and gathering public input on options to address the deficiencies. The project team includes City staff as well as firms with expertise in bridge engineering, historic resources, environmental impacts, landscape architecture, and community involvement.

The goals of the bridge project are to address the structural deficiencies of the bridges, improve safety and mobility, provide safe turning movements for traffic, and provide crossings that are safe for pedestrians, bicycles, and other non-vehicular traffic.

The Austin Avenue Bridges project team developed a list of 12 preliminary alternatives for the bridges representing a range of reasonable concepts. Based on feasibility and impacts to ecological, community, and historic resources, the project team refined the list to five primary alternatives for the bridges, which are listed as below.

During the construction phase in all of the options, one lane of traffic in each direction would be maintained. Options including bearing replacement would include nightly closures of the bridges.

1. No build: This option includes some maintenance work, but does not include replacement of the bearings or the concrete deck on the bridges. This option does not meet the goals of the project, but is required by the federal environmental review process. Cost estimate: $400,000.

2A. Pair of one-way bridges: This option would rehabilitate the existing bridges for two southbound traffic lanes and a turn lane and construct new 40-foot wide bridges for northbound traffic to the east of the existing bridges. The new bridges would include two vehicular traffic lanes and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle lane. The bearings and the concrete bridge deck would be replaced on the existing bridges. This option meets most of the goals of the project. The construction duration estimate is 18 to 22 months. Cost estimate: $13.1 million. The estimated service life of this option is 30 to 50 years.

6A. Rehabilitation with pedestrian bridges: This option would replace the bearings and concrete bridge deck on the existing bridges and construct new 10-foot wide pedestrian bridges to the east of the existing bridges. This option meets most of the goals of the project except for turning or mobility improvements for vehicles. The construction duration estimate is 16 to 18 months. Cost estimate: $7 million. The estimated service life of this option is 20 to 40 years.

7A. Rehabilitation and widen bridges: This option would replace the bearings and concrete deck on the existing bridges and add new 33.5-foot wide bridge sections to the east of the existing bridges. The new sections would include a 10-foot wide pedestrian and bicycle lane. A vehicular turn lane would be added on the existing bridges. This option meets all the goals of the project. The construction duration estimate is 16 to 18 months. Cost estimate: $12.7 million. The estimated service life of this option is 30 to 50 years.

8. Full replacement: This option would demolish the existing bridges and construct new bridges with a vehicular turn lane and a 10-foot wide lane for pedestrians and bicycles. This option meets the goals of the project, but does not preserve historic features of the existing bridges. The construction duration estimate is 18 to 22 months. Cost estimate: $15.7 million. The estimated service life of this option is 75 years.

Maps showing schematic design concepts for the five primary alternatives as well as display boards and other information on the project are available on the project website at austinave.georgetown.org.

Public comment on these five alternatives can be sent to the Austin Avenue Bridges project team at austinave@georgetown.org.

Feasibility, engineering, historic, environmental, and community factors as well as input from the public, state agencies, and the Georgetown City Council will lead to further narrowing of alternatives for the project. Additional analysis will lead to a preferred alternative that will be presented at a fourth public meeting for the project expected in late 2017 or early 2018.

Georgetown City Council election results

The Williamson County Elections office has posted unofficial final results for the City Council election on May 6 in Georgetown.

These are the unofficial final results:

Race Candidate Votes Percent
Mayor Sherwin Kahn 1,323 27.76
Dale Ross 3,442 72.24
District 2 Valerie Nicholson 389  53.58
David Sray  337  46.42
District 6 Rachael Jonrowe  400 75.76
Lawrence Romero  128  24.24

To see a complete May 6, 2017 election results, go to wilco.org/elections.

Bat found in north Georgetown tests positive for rabies

A downed bat that was found on Thursday in an outdoor area on private property on the north side of Georgetown has tested positive for rabies. The dead bat was found on property in the 2100 block of N. Austin Avenue.

A resident reported the bat to Georgetown Animal Services on Thursday afternoon. An animal control officer retrieved the bat and took it to the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin for testing. Positive rabies virus results on the bat were reported to Animal Services late in the afternoon yesterday.

Animal control does not know if any people or pets were in contact with the bat, but is notifying those in the vicinity. In cases where a person or pet may have had contact with a bat, or to report a downed bat, residents should contact Animal Services via the non-emergency 24-hour number for the Georgetown Police Department at (512) 930-3510. An animal control officer will respond to the report. According to Animal Services, bats should not be handled or picked up if found.

For questions or concerns about rabies, contact the Williamson County and Cities Health District at (512) 943-3660. If you have concerns about possible contact with a bat, contact the Health District or your health care provider.

For information about rabies in animals, including signs of rabies, see the Texas Department of State Health Services rabies page at dshs.texas.gov/idcu/disease/rabies/information/pamphlet.

It is important to protect pets by making sure they have a current rabies vaccination. The Georgetown Animal Shelter is hosting a low-cost vaccine clinic on Saturday, May 20, from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

For more information, contact the shelter at (512) 930-3592. The Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive near the McMaster Athletic Complex.

Downtown Lowdown Meeting April 5

Come find out about upcoming City of Georgetown project and event updates at the next quarterly Downtown Lowdown meeting on Wednesday, April 5.

The informal meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. at Roots Bistro, 118 W. Eighth St. Coffee and light breakfast snacks will be provided. There will be updates from City staff on:

  • Art Center and Public Library events
  • Historic Resource Survey update
  • Austin Avenue Bridges update
  • Downtown sidewalk projects
  • Founders Park and VFW Park update
  • Red Poppy Festival 2017 preview
  • Red Poppy Festival Zero-Waste Initiative
  • Downtown sales tax trends

Also, 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, April 4, to Jackson Daly at (512) 819-3115 or at jackson.daly@georgetown.org.

Transit System Survey: City Seeks Feedback

Update, March 24, 2017: This transit survey is now closed. Results from the transit survey will be presented at the City Council meeting on March 28.

The City of Georgetown is launching a fixed-route transit service, also known as a bus service, in August. The new transit service includes four routes with a central hub at the Georgetown Public Library.

The City is conducting an online poll to gather feedback on proposed fares, hours of service, and a name for the new system.  Take the online survey at surveymonkey.com/r/citytransitsurvey.

The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 23. Survey results will be provided to the City Council and City staff.

The system is supported with federal transportation funding as well as local funding from the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Health Foundation.

A public open house on the new transit system will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. Information on the new transit system will be available at the open house and attendees can take the online survey.

For more information about the new transit system as well as the Transit Development Plan, go to transit.georgetown.org.

Trucks with bridge beams affect traffic March 20-24

Next week on Monday through Friday, concrete bridge beams will be delivered at the Southwest Bypass bridge site in southwest Georgetown. Delivery of 120 precast bridge beams in convoys of six trucks at a time will lead to brief road closures on SH 29/University Avenue and on Leander Road at their intersections with I-35. Traffic on the main lanes of I-35 should not be affected. The beam delivery schedule is weather-dependent.

On March 20-22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, there will be closures of approximately five minutes in duration on University Avenue at the I-35 intersection. During each closure, Georgetown police will stop traffic on University Avenue to allow for the passage of six trucks carrying 120-foot-long bridge beams. After clearing the intersection, trucks will travel west on University Avenue and then turn south on D.B. Wood Road to reach the bridge site.

On March 23-24 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, police will close Leander Road at the intersection with I-35 for brief periods to allow groups of six trucks with beams to pass through the intersection. These trucks will travel west on Leander Road and turn north at the Southwest Bypass right-of-way, which is about 600 feet west of Riverview Drive.

Once at the bridge site, each beam will be lifted from the transport truck with two cranes and lowered into place on bridge supports. The steel-reinforced concrete beams are for bridges over the South San Gabriel River and an unnamed tributary that are part of the Southwest Bypass project.

Due to the intermittent closures on SH 29 and Leander Road, drivers should expect traffic delays. Prior to moving through the SH 29 and Leander Road intersections, the trucks will be staging along the I-35 northbound frontage roads in Georgetown.

Southwest Bypass is a new north-south arterial that will connect with D.B Wood Road and Leander Road. The construction contract for the Southwest Bypass has a completion date in late 2018, however the contractor is ahead of schedule.

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