Lone Star Regional Rail Public Meeting Jan. 28

An open house meeting for Lone Star Regional Rail, the proposed passenger rail line from Georgetown to San Antonio, will be held in Georgetown on January 28. The meeting begins the federal environmental review process to study routes and impacts of the rail line. The open house meeting is from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Georgetown Chamber Events Center, 1 Chamber Way in Georgetown (see map below).

The Lone Star Rail District is conducting the environmental impact study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and Texas Department of Transportation. The meeting in Georgetown is one of six open house meetings in the region to provide public input on the project. Public involvement in the environmental impact study has these objectives:

  • Define the purpose and identify the needs that the proposed project could address, including lack of transportation options, lack of regional connectivity, and increasing highway congestion.
  • Allow the public to learn more about the history of the proposed project and planning studies completed to date.
  • Identify issues that should be studied including regional air quality and natural resources.
  • Provide an opportunity for the public to identify ways that the proposed project could address transportation needs.

“These open houses are an opportunity to engage with individual communities and provide information about the history of the project and the work we’ve completed to date,” said Joseph Black, rail director for the Lone Star Rail District and project manager of the environmental review. “We’ll also be gathering input from residents and stakeholders to include in the project record. Community feedback is a crucial part of the environmental review process, and we want to ensure everyone is able to be part of the process.”

The LSTAR passenger rail line is proposed to improve mobility, mode choice, accessibility, transportation reliability and facilitate economic development along the I-35 corridor in Central and South Texas. One option being studied would provide passenger rail service from Georgetown to San Antonio within existing freight rail corridors, while moving some existing freight rail service to a new bypass constructed between Taylor and San Antonio.

The environmental impact study will involve public input on potential impacts and benefits of the LSTAR rail line as well as input on alternatives for the project route and scope. A decision on the project route and scope by the end of 2017 would allow for federal funding eligibility.

To learn more or submit comments online, visit the Lone Star Regional Rail project website, eis.LoneStarRail.com. The deadline for online comments is February 27.

Lone Star Rail District is an independent public agency formed in 2003 to bring regional passenger rail service to the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Georgetown City Council Member Patty Eason is one of 20 local and state representatives on the board of the Lone Star Rail District.

The slides below provide more information on the Lone Star Regional Rail project and the environmental impact study process:

Lone Star Rail Scoping slides Jan 2015

Location map to the Georgetown Chamber Events Center:

Ninth Street and Main Street Closures

Street closures on Ninth Street and on Main Street will start on January 21 as part of the ongoing utility and street project redesign on Ninth Street in downtown Georgetown.

Main Street will be closed on Wednesday, January 21 from Eighth Street to Tenth Street. The closure will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day to allow for trenching across Main Street at Ninth Street. Local traffic will have access to businesses on Main Street in the closure area.

Ninth Street will be closed January 26 to February 2 in the one-block segment from Main Street to Church Street. This is to allow for trenching and installation of underground conduit in that block.

The street closures are part of the overall project on Ninth Street to move overhead utilities underground, reconfigure parking and drainage, and improve sidewalks and landscaping.

Work on Ninth Street from Rock Street to Austin Avenue was substantially complete in December. Work on Ninth Street from Austin Avenue to Main Street is expected to be completed in April.

See the map below for the location of the street closures:

HARC Amendments to UDC Meeting on January 22

The City is seeking public input on revisions to the code that governs the downtown district. Changes to the Unified Development Code related to the Historic and Architectural Review Commission will be presented at a public meeting on January 22 at 5 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, 101 E. Seventh Street. Online review and feedback on the proposed changes also is available at georgetown.org/udc/harc-amendments.

The proposed changes to the UDC are for property in the Downtown and Old Town Overlay districts, as well as certain property listed in the City’s Historic Resource Survey.  A draft of the proposed revisions to the UDC can be seen at georgetown.org/udc/harc-amendments.

The main changes proposed include the following areas:

  • Designation of local Historic Landmarks
  • Clarification of regulations that apply to contributing versus non-contributing historic structures to a Historic Overlay District
  • Clarification on review processes for alterations, removals , demolition, and new construction, as well as certain site features such as signage and fences, to include review by the Historic and Architectural Review Commission and historic preservation officer
  • Clarification on the zoning development standards that apply to property located in a Historic Overlay District

The City seeks input on the proposed changes from property and business owners, City commission and board members, neighborhood residents, elected officials, and other members of the public. To facilitate public input, the following public meetings have been scheduled to take place in the Council Chambers at 101 E. Seventh Street in Georgetown:

  • January 22 at 5 p.m. – Open public meeting
  • February 3 at 6 p.m. – Planning and Zoning Commission meeting,  recommendation to City Council
  • February 10 at 6 p.m. – City Council meeting, first reading of the ordinance
  • February 24 at 6 p.m. – City Council meeting, second reading of the ordinance

Public comment is invited at each of these steps in the public review process for the proposed changes to the UDC.

Westside Park Public Input Meeting Jan. 22

A new 90-acre park on the west side of Georgetown is being planned and the City of Georgetown wants your input. What would you like to see in this park? Ball fields? Hiking trails? Natural preserves? We’d like to know what is important to you.

West Side Park property-400The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. on January 22 to get your input. The meeting will be at the Community Center at 445 E. Morrow Street in San Gabriel Park.

The City owns 90 acres of undeveloped parkland that will be used for the new westside park. The property is on the northwest side of Shell Road near Shell Spur. Berry Creek runs through the parkland and limestone cliffs border the creek’s edge.

The City purchased the 90-acre property in 2013 for $1.35 million in order to develop the land into a park on the west side of the city. Revenue from the 2008 voter-approved parks bonds was used to purchase the land.

Public input from the January 22 meeting will be used in the creation of a master plan for the future park. The City also encourages you to join an online discussion at georgetownwestsidepark.mindmixer.com. The westside park could include uses such as fields for soccer and baseball, playgrounds, nature trails, picnic pavilions, and natural areas.

The Parks and Recreation Department will incorporate public input in the design of a master plan for the westside park. The master plan process is expected to take approximately six months. The construction timeline for the park will depend on utility and development projects in the area, as well as future funding.

For details about plans for the future westside park, contact Eric Nuner, assistant director of parks and recreation at (512) 930-3525 or eric.nuner@georgetown.org.

Location map to Community Center:

Downtown Low-Down Meeting January 21

We are still in the first month of 2015, but a lot has already happened in downtown Georgetown and the projects for the year are just beginning! To find out about upcoming City projects and event updates, plan to come to the next quarterly Downtown Low-Down meeting on Wednesday, January 21.

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

  • Utility and street work on Second and Ninth streets
  • Downtown parking study kickoff
  • Parking lot at Eighth and Martin Luther King, Jr. streets
  • City website redesign update
  • Arts Center events
  • Library events
  • Breakfast Bites on February 11
  • The Georgetown Swirl on March 7
  • Updated historic preservation processes
  • Upcoming city projects for fiscal year 2014-2015

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, January 20 to Jackson Daly at (512) 931-7679 or at jackson.daly@georgetown.org.

Sidewalk Plan and Transit Study Open House Jan. 22

The City of Georgetown is partnering with Capital Metro to get your input on two important transportation topics: sidewalks and transit. An open house meeting to get your feedback on the City of Georgetown Sidewalk Master Plan as well as the Capital Metro Fixed-Route Transit Study will be held on January 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at McCoy Elementary, 401 Bellaire Drive in Georgetown (see map below). Public input on the two transportation topics will happen at the meeting.

Sidewalk Master Plan

At the open house, the City of Georgetown Transportation Department is seeking public input on a 10-year priority list for new sidewalk projects. The list will be submitted to the City Council with the adoption of the Sidewalk Master Plan currently planned for February. To learn more about the project, or if you are not able to attend the open house, go to the project webpage at sidewalksandfacilities.georgetown.org.

The Sidewalk Master Plan process began last April with an inventory of existing conditions, surveys of community residents and partners, and a prioritized project list with associated funding recommendations. In September, the project team gathered valuable recommendations at the first open house. Insights from that open house were incorporated into the project list and prioritization analysis.

The project team for the Plan has identified 144 miles of existing sidewalks in Georgetown with 6 percent rated as excellent condition, 63 percent rated as good, 18 percent as passable, 6 percent with limited failures, and 7 percent as failing or nonfunctional. A $10.1 million cost estimate has been developed for Priority 1 sidewalk projects. Key areas include downtown, the connection to the Southwestern University campus, University Avenue, Second Street, South Austin Avenue, and Old Town Southeast.

Fixed-Route Transit Study

Capital Metro, Austin’s regional transit provider, is co-locating with the City open house to gather input on a fixed route transit service study for the City of Georgetown. Capital Metro staff and consultants will discuss the purpose of the study and get ideas from the community on what is most needed for successful service in Georgetown.
See the location map for McCoy Elementary School:

MLK Day Events in Georgetown Next Week

Georgetown will celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 19 and later in the week at Southwestern University at a number of community events. On January 19, youth will participate in a Youth Service Day at the Teen Center and other volunteers will participate in a Day of Service at various locations. At noon on January 19 there will be a march starting at the Courthouse followed by a program at Macedonia Baptist Church. Southwestern University will host a two-day symposium and other events in the week of MLK Day.

Youth Service Day

The Georgetown Project hosts a Youth Service Day on MLK Day for youth grades 9 to 12 at the Teen Center. The Youth Service Day starts at 9 a.m. Service projects include games with seniors at a nursing home, park clean-up and beautification, working at the NEST program for teens, landscaping at the Georgetown Housing Authority, work at Habitat ReStore, and writing letters or sending bracelets to members of the military. Students needing service hours will be given certificates for 4.5 hours of service.

Participation in service projects will be followed by a free pizza lunch at the Teen Center, located at the Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Avenue. For details, contact the Georgetown Project at www.georgetownproject.org or call (512) 943-5198.

Day of Service

The United Way of Williamson County is sponsoring a Day of Service on MLK Day from 9 a.m. to noon for youth or adults. The Day of Service includes project locations in Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Taylor. Projects in Georgetown include volunteer efforts at Annunciation Maternity Home, Berry Springs Park and Reserve, and The Caring Place. For details or to register, go to unitedway-wc.org or call (512) 255-6799.

March and Panel

A march to honor the MLK Day holiday will begin at 12 p.m. (noon) at the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main Street. After meeting on the north side of the Courthouse on Seventh Street, there will be a seven-block march to Macedonia Baptist Church, 206 Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. The theme of the event, sponsored by the Georgetown Fellowship of Churches, is Pursuing Hopes and Dreams through Tribulations.

A program beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church features Nathaniel Bonner with St. Paul United Methodist Church, De Andre Woods-Walker with Southwestern University, and Cheryl Lang-Hoover, Georgetown ISD executive director of human resources. The march and program are free and open to the public. For details, contact Tyrone Adams at (512) 968-6361 or Paulette Taylor at (512) 863-2109.

Symposium at Southwestern University

For the first time, the Race and Ethnicity Studies Program at Southwestern University will be hosting an interdisciplinary symposium during Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. The two-day Race and Ethnicity Studies Symposium will feature six Southwestern faculty members and Southwestern alumna Tara Leday. The symposium on Tuesday, Jan. 20 and on Thursday, Jan. 22 will focus on research on race and racial discrimination and feature a question and answer period in which attendees may participate. For the full symposium schedule, visit: www.southwestern.edu/calendar.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Diversity Enrichment Committee and the Office of Diversity Education. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information about the symposium, contact Assistant Professor of Philosophy Omar Rivera at riverao@southwestern.edu.

Leading up to the symposium, a discussion about the book Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King Jr. will be held on Friday, Jan. 16, at 3 p.m. in Room 234 of the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning at Southwestern. The discussion will be facilitated by Terri Johnson, assistant dean for student multicultural affairs. Additionally, the regularly scheduled chapel service on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 11:30 a.m. will honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Southwestern students also will participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Twin Springs Preserve on Monday, Jan. 19, and will be invited to share their perspective on Dr. King’s “beloved community” on the SU Social Justice Wall Jan. 15-22.

Southwestern University is located at Maple Street and University Avenue in Georgetown.

MLK Day Closings on January 19

City of Georgetown offices will be closed on Monday, January 19 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. There will be normal solid waste and recycling collection on January 19.

City offices and facilities closed on January 19 for MLK Day include the following:

  • Airport Terminal, 500 Terminal Drive
  • Animal Shelter, 110 Walden Drive
  • City Hall, 113 E. Eighth Street
  • Library, 402 W. Eighth Street
  • Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Avenue
  • Municipal Court, 101 E. Seventh Street
  • Parks and Recreation Administration, 1101 N. College Street
  • Recreation Center, 1003 N. Austin Avenue
  • Tennis Center, 400 Serenada Drive
  • Visitors Center, 103 W. Seventh Street

The Collection Station at 250 W.L. Walden Drive will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, January 19.

Solid Waste and Recycling Collection

There will be normal residential solid waste and recycling collection for Texas Disposal Systems customers in the City of Georgetown on Monday, January 19. For questions about solid waste collection, call TDS at (512) 930-1715.

Coffee with the Captains on Jan. 21

A casual, open-to-the-public chance to visit with police officers will be held at a local convenience store on a Wednesday morning later this month.

Called Coffee with the Captains, the informal event organized by Captain Evelyn McLean of the Georgetown Police Department will be at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21. Captain McLean will be joined by fellow Captain Roland Waits at the 7-Eleven store at 2995 Williams Drive (see map below) for the informal event. The two will mingle with customers of the store with no planned agenda.

The intent of the get-together is to listen to residents and establish closer ties with the community. The owner of the 7-Eleven store, Meddy Tekle, recently shared with Captain McLean about a conversation with a customer who felt negatively toward local police.

“Hearing Ms. Tekle’s story, it became apparent to me that the recent adverse media stories about police throughout the country had trickled down to a local level,” says Captain McLean. “We are not a reactive police department. For example, all of our officers have had body cameras well over a year, ahead of any incident. We are not hosting Coffee with the Captains in reaction to any local event, rather community relations is part of our everyday mantra. Case in point, we have one of the largest volunteer programs in the State and our police work closely with these volunteers providing for the public.”

Georgetown Police invites residents to get involved with the Department through various means such as attending the Georgetown Citizen Police Academy, becoming a Volunteer in Police Services, joining the Police Explorer program (ages 14-20), or participating in a ride-out with an officer.

For more information on Georgetown Police Department community programs, contact Captain Evelyn McLean at (512) 930-8408.

Location map for 7-Eleven on Williams Drive:

Collection Station Rates and Tree Recycling

New rates for materials brought to the Collection Station took effect January 1. The new Texas Disposal Systems rates are no greater than 90 percent of the gate rate charged at the Williamson County landfill in Hutto. Items such as tires, refrigerators, batteries, roofing shingles, and loads of gravel are accepted at the Collection Station for a fee. For details, go to recycle.georgetown.org.

Also, as of Jan. 1, all loads brought to the Collection Station must be secured with twine or rope, or must be tied down using a tarp. The purpose is to reduce littering and roadway debris hazards. State law requires loads to be secured. A $25 fee for unsecured loads goes into effect on Feb. 1.

The Collection Station is located at 250 W.L. Walden Drive, which is near the McMaster Athletic Fields on N. College Street. For details, go to recycle.georgetown.org.

Christmas Tree Recycling

Through January 31 at no charge, live Christmas trees will be accepted at the City of Georgetown Collection Station from in-city residents and those who live outside city limits. Trees should be free of tinsel, ornaments, lights, and stands prior to drop-off. Trees brought to the Collection Station will be ground into garden mulch.