Downtown Parking Study Public Meeting on March 11

The City of Georgetown will hold a public meeting to gather input on downtown parking on March 11. The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. in the Friends meeting room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street.

Parking and engineering consultant Carl Walker, Inc. has been hired by the City of Georgetown to assess the available parking in downtown and provide options for future parking needs. A representative with Carl Walker will begin with a brief presentation at the meeting and then be available for comments and questions.

Take a quick Downtown Parking Survey to help to the City understand public use patterns and perceptions about downtown parking. The survey deadline is March 3.

Initial data findings and the results of the downtown parking study survey also will be presented at the meeting.

Warrant Round-up Starts March 7

The 2015 Statewide Warrant Round-up starts on March 7 when more than 300 law enforcement agencies in Texas will concentrate their efforts to find those with outstanding warrants. Law enforcement officers are going to residences and workplaces to serve arrest warrants. Those with outstanding warrants should act immediately to avoid going to jail.

To make a payment on an outstanding class C misdemeanor offense in Georgetown, go to the Municipal Court location at 101 E. Seventh Street. Money orders and cashier’s checks are accepted. Personal checks are not accepted. To contact Municipal Court by phone, call (512) 930-3625.

In addition to regular weekday hours, Municipal Court will have special Saturday hours from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 7 and on March 14. Those who wish to pay fines and avoid arrest can come to the court at those times or during regular business hours.

Payments can be made online at any time using a credit card through the City’s web site at court.georgetown.org/paying-fines.

Sheraton Hotel at Rivery Breaks Ground Feb. 19

Construction kicks off Thursday for a 224-room Sheraton hotel and conference center in Georgetown. Novak Brothers and Hines host a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Starwood-operated hotel at 2 p.m. on February 19. The event is at Rivery Boulevard and Wolf Ranch Parkway at the Summit at the Rivery Park development.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts will operate the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center that is expected to open in the summer of 2016.

The Summit at Rivery Park project includes multiple restaurants and shops also expected to open with the hotel. The development also includes 223 luxury rental units available next month and 114 single-family brownstone residences. Novak Brothers, the developer for the Summit at Rivery project, has already constructed 31 brownstone residences at the site. Hines, an international real estate development firm headquartered in Houston, is a partner in the hotel and conference center.

A new multi-level public parking garage will be constructed with the project and available for users of the hotel and conference center, Rivery Park, and the public. The Rivery Park Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, a partnership including the City of Georgetown and Williamson County, will reinvest revenue generated by the project to fund the parking garage, improvements in Rivery Park, public roads, and utility infrastructure.

The Summit at Rivery Park project on I-35 will serve as a northern gateway to the Austin metro area and an anchor for future retail, office, and residential development in the center of Georgetown.

Grants Help Fund Wide Variety of Georgetown Arts and Culture Opportunities

Georgetown arts and culture nonprofits received grants totaling $20,000 in the Georgetown Arts and Culture Board awards process for 2015. The grants will fund events taking place in Georgetown this year between February 1 and September 30. Events that are free to the public received special consideration in the grant process.

Grants awarded were:

$500 East View High School Band, for the Rodney Klett Band Clinic
$1,000 East View High School Percussion Ensemble, for percussion and steelpan drum clinics
$2,500 Georgetown Art Center, for the Kumbh Mela exhibit and events
$2,500 Georgetown Festival of the Arts, for a free concert and fireworks
$2,500 Georgetown High School Jazz Program, for a Jazz Festival
$2,500 Georgetown Symphony Society, for the 2015-16 symphony season
$2,500 Palace Theater, for shows adapted to audience members with special needs
$1,500 SU Native organization, for its 11th annual Powwow
$2,000 Williamson County Symphony Orchestra, for its Pops Concert
$2,500 Williamson Museum, for the Courage and Contradiction exhibit

The organizations that received funding will recognize the Arts and Culture Board in their advertising and programs, and will submit a report to the board after the event with a description of the use of the grant funds.

The next call for Georgetown Arts and Culture Board grant applications will be issued in 2016.

Survey on Downtown Parking

The City of Georgetown has hired consultant Carl Walker, Inc. to assess the available parking in downtown and provide options for future parking needs. Take this quick online survey to help to the City understand public use patterns and perceptions about downtown parking.

The survey deadline is March 3.

Your responses will help the City to determine the best future options for providing parking in the downtown area.

Marker at Cemetery Records Black History

entry sign 1-1000Across the highway from the largest shopping center in Georgetown and tucked behind two new restaurants is a cemetery that is older than the Williamson County Courthouse. Established in 1906, the Citizen’s Memorial Garden Cemetery on Memorial Drive is the final resting place for generations of African American residents of Georgetown. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

Early burials at the cemetery were likely those of former slaves. In addition to African American residents, a section on the western edge of the cemetery contains plots for residents who were Hispanic.

The seven-acre cemetery seems to be mostly empty with 306 headstones or markers scattered throughout a fenced field. However, a 2013 study revealed the locations of at least 511 unmarked graves at the cemetery.

cemetery marker sign 1000Surveyors with Horizon Environmental Services from Austin identified the unmarked graves as depressions in the ground surface or as small earthen mounds. Many more unmarked graves are likely at the cemetery, according to the study.

Graves that are unmarked may once have had metal plaques provided by funeral homes which have since deteriorated or were removed. Other unmarked graves could have once been indicated with stones or concrete markers that were not inscribed, or on which lettering has weathered away.

The survey of the Citizen’s Memorial Garden Cemetery and an interpretive sign were funded by a $7,000 grant from the Texas Historical Commission and a $7,000 match from the City of Georgetown. The interpretive sign provides historical information about the cemetery and also shows the numbered plots of all marked graves with a listing of names of those identified graves. In addition, white squares on map of the cemetery show the locations of unmarked graves.

marker group 1b-1000

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Kimberly Garrett, Laurie Brewer, Dorris Ross, Mary Faulkner, Paulette Taylor, Matt Synatschk, Beatrice Miller, Gertrude Saterfield, and Birdie Shanklin. Ross, Faulkner, Taylor, Miller, Saterfield, and Shanklin each have relatives buried at the cemetery. Garrett is director of parks and recreation for the City, Brewer is assistant city manager, and Synatschk is historic planner for the City.

Adopt True Love

Dog of the week 01-03-15 orion
Orion is at the Georgetown Animal Shelter, looking for a new home or perhaps a foster home during his heartworm treatment.

The Georgetown Animal Shelter is gearing up for a Valentine’s Day themed adoption weekend February 13 – 15 at the PetSmart in Round Rock located at 201 University Oaks Boulevard, Round Rock, TX 78665 (near Ikea off of I-35).

Several other adoption partners will join the Georgetown Animal Shelter from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on these days and, collectively, strive to adopt out 75 animals. There will be many homeless dogs and cats from which to choose, varying in age, size, breed, and personality.

Other groups in attendance will be Austin German Shepherd Rescue, Double E  Rescue Ranch, PAWS Shelter for Animals, Pflugerville Animal Shelter, and Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

Each pet available for adoption will be spayed or neutered, current on vaccines, and microchipped. PetSmart will even provide adopters with free goodies and valuable coupons to help assimilate the new pets into their forever homes.

Are you looking for true love this Valentine’s Day? Join us at this family friendly adoption event and you are guaranteed to fall in love!

 

Public Safety Operations and Training Center: Photos

PSOTC entry1b-1000Members of the local media got a chance to see the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on Friday. (Click on photos to see larger versions.)

The Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration move to the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on Monday, February 2. The center is located at 3500 DB Wood Road next to Fire Station 5.

The new facility is the home for the Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration. Police Department offices, including Code Enforcement, as well as Fire Department Administrative offices, including Fire and Life Safety and Fire Plans Review, will move to the new facility.

EOC 1-1000

Capt. Roland Waits describes the City’s new primary Emergency Operations Center located in the center. City management and key departments like Fire, Police, and Transportation will monitor emergencies and coordinate an integrated response from the EOC. The new center is engineered to withstand a strike from an F-3 tornado with 165 mile-per-hour winds.

patrol briefing-1000

This briefing room is where officers in the field operations bureau of the police department can gather to learn information prior to a new 12-hour shift.

crime lab-1000

A crime lab in the center contains vented hoods that allow crime scene technicians to use chemicals safely while processing evidence.

Be the Standard-1000

Small signs with the Georgetown Police Department insignia and the phrase “Be the Standard” can be found throughout police offices in the new center.

weight room1-1000

Capt. Waits says the weight and fitness room is one of the most highly-anticipated features of the new facility among the officers. The former Police Department at 809 MLK, Jr. Street had no fitness or weight training room.

defensive tactics room-1000

A defensive tactics room with padded mats on the walls and floors will allow officers to learn and practice defensive techniques that are used when dealing with aggressive individuals.

biometric access-1000

Biometric access devices control entry to highly-sensitive areas such as rooms with evidence or weapons.

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Lockers in the new facility have locked compartments for weapons and other compartments for vests and boots. The new men’s and women’s locker rooms are among the biggest improvements for officers at the new facility. The small lockers in the cramped space at 809 MLK, Jr. Street cannot fit an officer’s modern equipment.

training bay-1000

This training bay inside the tactical and training building is one of the innovations of the new center. Movable partitions can be set up in the bay in order to conduct “reality-based training” in which officers are confronted with scenarios in which they must react. Officers can learn concepts and ideas in classrooms at the training building, and then go to the training bay where skills and tactics are put into practice using non-lethal ammunition similar to paintball rounds. Catwalks above the maze of partitions will allow training officers to evaluate and videorecord training events. These videos can be reviewed as a learning tool in the training process.

Nero and door-1000

Police Chief Wayne Nero shows a door in the training bay on which officers can practice breaching techniques. Officers are trained to use various breaching tools on the doors. Nero says that kicking in a door, as seen in TV shows, often results in injuries in real-life policing.

Georgetown voters approved funding for the facility in a bond election in 2011.

A public open house for the Public Safety Operations and Training Center will be held in March. Details will be announced in February.

Think Before You Surrender a Pet

“I’m moving tomorrow, and I can’t take my cat.”

“My dog keeps escaping from the back yard.”

“The kids don’t play with the guinea pig anymore.”

These are familiar refrains at the Georgetown Animal Shelter, the City’s municipal open-intake animal shelter. But animal shelters should be the last resort for pets that depend on their humans to take care of them.

Beginning in February, the shelter will direct people wanting to give up their pets to make appointments.

“We hope to give people extra time to think about their decision and whether an animal shelter is the best place for their companion,” explained shelter manager Jackie Carey. “Shelters are stressful places even for easygoing dogs and cats.”

If you determine that surrendering your pet is the only option, call 512-930-3592 to make an appointment. Bring any veterinarian records and proof of residency. (As a tax-supported city department, the Georgetown Animal Shelter only accepts animals from people who live within the city limits.)

Be prepared to spend a half hour at the appointment. You’ll be asked to talk to a staff person, complete a profile on the animal, and sign over your rights to make decisions. It’s possible that staff can suggest other alternatives to surrendering the pet.

“We want to see if by talking to people and offering help they will not have to surrender their pets – for example, help fixing their fence, help getting their pet altered, help with training or offering a crate. But if someone is already at wit’s end, we understand and will take their pet without trying to talk them into keeping it,” Carey said.

Appointments will be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. On weekends, appointments will be available from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Public Safety Operations and Training Center Move-in Feb. 2

PSOTC entry1b-1000The Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration move to the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on February 2. The center is located at 3500 DB Wood Road next to Fire Station 5.

The new facility is the home for the Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration. Police Department offices, including Code Enforcement, as well as Fire Department Administrative offices, including Fire and Life Safety and Fire Plans Review, will move to the new facility.

In addition to office and indoor training areas in the 76,204 square-foot main building, the center also includes a driving track and a training building with 3,897 square feet of office and outdoor classroom space and a 12,800 square-foot unfinished training bay with movable partitions and observation catwalks.

Georgetown voters approved funding for the facility in a bond election in 2011.

A public open house for the Public Safety Operations and Training Center will be held in March. Details will be announced in February.