Main Street Grants: Hummingbird Hollow, Artisans Connect

The Georgetown Main Street program recently presented checks to reimburse a portion of the cost for new signs at Hummingbird Hollow and Artisans Connect. The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund is a matching grant program for commercial buildings in the historic downtown area.

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Hummingbird Hollow is a boutique with gifts, women’s apparel, and accessories at 824 S. Austin Avenue (www.hummingbirdhollow.biz). Hummingbird Hollow received at $500 check for a portion of the cost of new signs. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Marcy Urban, Cindy Harrington, Jim Wilson, Trisha Tallman, Erland Schulze, David Kellerman, Shelly Hargrove, Julie Laderach, and John Marler.

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Artisans Connect Gallery at 122 E. Eighth Street features ceramic, metal, glass, and mixed media pieces as well as paintings and jewelry by Central Texas artists (www.artisansconnect.net). Artisans Connect Gallery received a $500 check for a portion of the cost of new signs. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Marcy Urban, Julie Laderach, John Marler, Jim Wilson, Trisha Tallman, Diane Gaume, Cindy Harrington, Shelly Hargrove, and David Kellerman.

Hummingbird signs-b-400The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund provides reimbursement grants to business owners in the historic downtown area for a portion of improvements made to building facades and new signs.

Sign matching grants are for up to $500 and façade matching grants are up to $10,000 for exterior work on a historic building.

The building facade and signs for Hummingbird Hollow are shown at left.

The storefront and signs for Artisans Connect Gallery are shown below.

Georgetown Main Street promotes historic preservation and economic development efforts in the historic downtown. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Division of Downtown and Community Services.

Artisans sign-b-400Learn more at mainstreet.georgetown.org.

City Sells Former Albertson’s Building

The Albertson’s has been sold.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, the Georgetown city council voted to accept a bid for $3.55 million from M.F. Trinity Management for the former Albertson’s grocery store building. The sale should be finalized in 60 days.

The 56,331 square-foot former Albertson’s building at 610 N. Austin Avenue is at the southeast corner of Williams Drive and Interstate 35. The City purchased the building in 2008 with the intention to use it for a public safety and municipal court facility. That plan changed in 2010 and the City then put the building up for sale in a public bid process.

M.F. Trinity Management has not yet announced the use for the property. More details are expected once the sale is finalized.

Main Street Grants to ReImagine and Avalon Monuments

The Georgetown Main Street program recently presented checks to reimburse a portion of the cost for new signs at ReImagine and Avalon Monuments. The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund is a matching grant program for commercial buildings in the historic downtown area.

Re-Imagine2b-600

ReImagine is an antique and home furnishings store at 1006 S. Austin Avenue. ReImagine received a $322 check for a portion of the cost of new signs for the business. Pictured (left to right) in the photo above are Janice Jacoby, Marcy Urban, John Marler, Janis Shields, Amneris Castillo, Jim Wilson, and Shelly Hargrove.

Avalon1b-600

Avalon Monuments at 1004 S. Austin Avenue provides custom monuments, headstones, portraits, memorials, and cremation urns, as well as the etching of final death dates (www.avalonmonuments.com). Avalon Monuments received a $500 check for a portion of the cost of new signs for the business. Pictured (left to right) in the photo above are Janice Jacoby, Janis ReImagine sign-b-400Shields, Cindy Harrington, Lois Townsend, John Marler, Larry Townsend, Jim Wilson, Marcy Urban, and Shelly Hargrove.

The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund provides reimbursement grants to business owners in the historic downtown area for a portion of improvements made to building facades and new signs.

Sign matching grants are for up to $500 and façade matching grants are up to $10,000 for exterior work on a historic building.

Avalon-sign-b-400Georgetown Main Street promotes historic preservation and economic development efforts in the historic downtown.

Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Division of Downtown and Community Services. Learn more at mainstreet.georgetown.org.

New Mosquito Control Effort Targets West Nile Risk

The City of Georgetown and the Williamson County and Cities Health District are collaborating on a new targeted effort to reduce the risk from mosquitos that carry West Nile virus. The new joint initiative is the first of its kind in Williamson County.

Since mid-June, a City of Georgetown employee in transportation services has been collecting mosquitos in traps in several Georgetown locations. The traps are collected twice weekly and the mosquitos are transported by Health District employees to the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin. Mosquitos that are potential carriers of West Nile are analyzed.

So far, no mosquito tests have detected the presence of the virus. The weekly testing will continue through the summer.

The City also is using larvicide disks in drainage ponds and other areas with standing water to kill mosquito larvae before it hatches to the adult insect.

The mosquito trapping and testing program was the result of heightened concern last summer after an increased number of fatalities from West Nile virus in Texas, including one person from Williamson County. Twelve people in Williamson County were hospitalized last year due to West Nile virus infection. Given the heightened concern last year, the Georgetown city council directed City staff to refine the City’s mosquito control program.

Over the past year, employees from the City and the Health District have worked to develop a new approach. In the past, the City’s transportation department used a pesticide sprayer to kill adult mosquitos in public parks and, years ago, in residential areas.

The new mosquito trapping and testing program is targeted to identifying areas with mosquitos that carry the West Nile virus. The approach is based on similar programs in Travis County and Harris County. Employees from the City and the Health District learned from those in Travis County in developing the trapping and testing methods.

If mosquitos from an area were to test positive for the virus, then additional steps can be taken, such as searches for standing water, increased use of larvicides, or additional public information about reducing breeding areas and the risk of exposure. If testing shows significantly increased exposure risk to West Nile virus, then ground-based pesticide fogging or aerial pesticide spraying can be considered.

The new mosquito trapping and testing program by the City and the Health District is only one component in an effective reduction of West Nile virus risk. The most important steps are those that can be taken by each resident.

Everyone can “Fight the Bite” by following the Four-D’s:

  • Dawn and Dusk are the times to try to stay indoors since those are times mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
  • Drain standing water in flower pots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitos don’t have a place to breed.
  • DEET is an effective bug spray ingredient to apply to clothing.

Eliminating places where mosquitos can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the best lines of defense against exposure to West Nile virus.

For more information on the mosquito control program in Georgetown, visit the Williamson County and Cities Health District website at www.wcchd.org. For more information on West Nile virus and the response in Texas, go to the Texas Department of State Health Services website at www.dshs.state.tx.us.

Police Officers Sworn In

oath Jones and Jones-b-450Two Georgetown employees were sworn in as peace officers by Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero on Monday.

Robert Jones took the oath from Chief Nero to become a Georgetown police officer in a ceremony at the police department. Jones previously worked for nine years for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Jones will be working in the patrol division.

Nero and Robert Jones-b-350Police Chief Wayne Nero is pictured with Officer Robert Jones at left.

Hank Jones, who is a captain in the Georgetown Fire Department, also took the oath to become a certified police officer. Capt. Jones leads the fire prevention and fire investigation programs for the Fire Department. As a peace officer, Capt. Jones will be able to take law enforcement actions, such as writing a citation as part of an arson investigation.

To complete the nine-month basic peace officers course in Austin, Capt. Jones took classes on evenings and weekends while concurrently working his day job at the Fire Department.

Hank Jones-b-175Capt. Jones started with the Georgetown Fire Department in 1998.

Capt. Hank Jones is pictured at right.

Texas Life-sciences Center Breaks Ground on Building 3

The Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center, a biotech accelerator in south Georgetown, held a groundbreaking on Thursday for building three.

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The new 15,000 square-foot building will include cleanroom space for the manufacture of medical devices and other biotech products. The building should be completed in January.

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The new building will be owned by GREX and constructed by FT Woods Construction.

Started in 2007, the center is now home to eight member companies: Celling BioSciences, Cleanint, DiFusion Technologies, DisperSol Technologies, Microbinc, Molecular Templates, Radix BioSolutions, and Xeris Pharmaceuticals. Those companies have a total of 62 employees earning a combined annual income of $5 million. Total capital investment at the center is $40 million.

Scams Reported Involving Past-Due Utility Bill Payments

The City of Georgetown advises residents to be aware of scams reported to the City involving payments on past-due accounts.

In one case, someone who identified himself as a City of Georgetown employee called a local business about a past-due utility account. The person told the customer to purchase a Visa card at a local store and to call back in order to avoid having utility service disconnected.

In another case, an individual called a homeowner and claimed to be a representative of the Georgetown Utility Systems electric department. The individual told the homeowner that their electricity would be cut off immediately unless they made payment arrangements.

In each case, the person falsely claimed to be an employee of the City of Georgetown in order to get money or credit card information. Georgetown Utility Systems is committed to its customers and together with the Georgetown Police Department will investigate these cases and pursue criminal charges against the perpetrators.

“Georgetown Utility Systems or the Customer Care office will not call customers and demand payments over the phone,” says Leticia Zavala, customer care manager. “Our customer service representatives will not accept payments at your home or business.”

Zavala says that in the case of an overdue utility payment, the City has a three-step notification process:

First, late notices are mailed to customers with unpaid balances the day after the billing due date.

Second, an automated phone call will be made to the phone number on the account in the week the account is scheduled to be disconnected for an unpaid balance.

Third, a yellow card is delivered to the residence at least one day prior to a scheduled service disconnection. This is the final notification before service is disconnected. It is strictly against policy for the customer service representative delivering the card to accept payment in the field.

“The City will advise of a past-due balance,” says Zavala. “But the City will not call you demanding money or come to your home or business demanding money.”

If customers have questions about a utility bill, call the Customer Care Center at (512) 930-3640 before giving out financial information regarding your utility account.

Project Connect Open Houses on Transit in North Corridor

Project Connect is holding open house meetings next week to offer ideas and get input on transit plans for Central Texas. Regional transportation entities have joined forces to study transportation options for communities in the North Corridor, including Austin, Hutto, Round Rock, Pflugerville, and Georgetown. See details at the Project Connect website at ConnectCentralTexas.com.

The public is invited to attend one of these Project Connect open houses:

Monday, June 24
5 to 8 p.m.
Allen R. Baca Center
301 W. Bagdad Avenue
Round Rock, Texas, 78664

The open house will be held in the Grand Meeting Room. Underground parking is available in the garage next to the Baca Center.

Tuesday, June 25
5 to 8 p.m.
Dobie Middle School
1200 East Rundberg Lane
Austin, Texas, 78753

The open house will be held in the cafeteria. Parking is available in front of the school, in teacher’s parking lot and on side streets.

Wednesday, June 26
5 – 8 p.m.
Pflugerville Justice Center
1611 Pfennig Lane
Pflugerville, Texas, 78660

The open house will be held in the municipal courtroom. Parking is available in front of the Justice Center.

Friday, June 28
12 to 1 p.m.
Online Open House
Register to participate online at www3.gotomeeting.com/register/218186110.

Project Connect is a partnership among Central Texas transportation agencies aimed at implementing the high-capacity transit component of the CAMPO2035 Plan. The CAMPO plan was adopted by regional government representatives in 2010, after a nine-month public outreach process involving policy makers and community stakeholders. The initial Project Connect partnership includes the City of Austin, Capital Metro, the Lone Star Rail District, and CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization), the six-county transportation planning organization that includes Williamson County and Georgetown.

For more information, visit ConnectCentralTexas.com or e-mail info@connectcentraltexas.com.

Firefighter Owen Commended for Role in West, Texas

Firefighter Craig Owen was recognized at the Georgetown city council meeting last week for his role as a liaison to families of two volunteer firefighters who were killed in the April 17 explosion in West, Texas. Owen, who is a driver/engineer with the Georgetown Fire Department, also was honored for coordinating round-the-clock honor guard teams from across the U.S. for all the firefighters who were killed in the incident.

Owen letter-b-425As a member of the Texas Line of Duty Task Force, Owen served in these roles in West for 17 days from the day after the explosion until the last burial of the first responders who died in the incident. (Pictured in the photo, from left, are Fire Chief John Sullivan, Driver/Engineer Craig Owen, and Assistant Fire Chief Clay Shell.)

Charlotte Chism Waldrum, president-elect of the Texas Funeral Directors Association, writes in a letter to the Fire Department, “I witnessed Craig spend countless hours, making sure his fallen brothers received the honor, respect and dignity they deserved. …I realize how proud your department must be to call Craig Owen one of your brothers. The job he did in West came, obviously, from his heart…”

At the city council meeting, Fire Chief John Sullivan presented a letter of commendation from the Georgetown Fire Department to Owen. “Craig did an outstanding job providing for all the families of the West tragedy,” said Sullivan. “He put his personal life on hold, and spent two weeks in West. …We are lucky to have Craig Owen working for the Georgetown Fire Department.”

Landscape Irrigation Schedule in Effect

The schedule for outdoor landscape irrigation remains in effect for City of Georgetown water customers. The following mandatory limits apply to landscape irrigation water use.

For irrigation systems and hose-end sprinklers, landscape irrigation is limited to a schedule based on the last digit of your address number:

Odd addresses may irrigate on
Tuesday and/or Thursday and/or Saturday

Even addresses may irrigate on
Wednesday and/or Friday and/or Sunday

Sprinkler or irrigation system use is not permitted on Mondays. Watering with a hand-held hose or bucket can be done any day and at any time. Violations of the irrigation schedule may result in fines.

Recommended, but not required

  • Water only two days per week according to the odd/even schedule
  • Avoid watering from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or in windy conditions

Changes to the watering schedule this year allow more flexibility in watering times. While it is recommended to avoid watering in the hottest parts of the day, customers with sprinklers that must be moved manually now have more flexibility in watering times. All outdoor watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems should follow the above odd/even schedule for days of the week.

For assistance in programming your irrigation controller, call Georgetown Utility Systems at (512) 930-3640, or email gus@georgetown.org.

Recommended Start Times

The City encourages customers to set the start time for automatic irrigation controllers based on the last digit of the customer address as follows:

Last digit of street address: Start time:
0 or 8 12 a.m.
1 or 9 1 a.m.
2 2 a.m.
3 3 a.m.
4 4 a.m.
5 5 a.m.
6 6 a.m.
7 7 a.m.

These start times are only for customers with automatic irrigation controllers. Residents and business owners with movable sprinklers do not have to follow the irrigation start times, but should follow the mandatory rules for watering days, and avoid watering any time on Monday.

Water Rates

At 19,000 gallons of water use in a month, the rate increases from $2.25 to $3.00 per thousand gallons for residents and from $2.60 to $3.35 for customers outside city limits. Higher rates apply at 30,000 gallons, 40,000 gallons, and 75,000 gallons. For details on water rates, go to customercare.georgetown.org/rates.

Aqua Alerts

Water meter replacements should be completed this summer. Those with new meters are eligible for automatic emailed AquaAlerts when your monthly use exceeds a pre-set level. Sign up online at https://records.georgetown.org/Forms/Aqua-Alerts or call Customer Care at (512) 930-3640.

For water conservation tips, to see aquifer and lake levels, read the Water Quality Report, or find out about City water utility projects, go to water.georgetown.org.