Proposed annexation of Berry Creek Highlands

The City of Georgetown is considering a voluntary annexation of property into the city limits.  The Public Hearings will be held at the March 27, 2018 meeting at 3 pm and March 27, 2018 at 6 pm. City Council meetings are located at the City Council Chambers, 101 E. 7th Street, at the northeast corner of Seventh and Main Street.  The area being considered for voluntary annexation is approximately 314.54 acres in the Burrell Eaves Survey, located at SH 195 Georgetown, Texas, to be known as Berry Creek Highlands.

After holding the required public hearings, the City Council will consider an ordinance for the annexation on April 24 and May 8, 2018.

For additional information, please contact Sofia Nelson in the Planning Department, 512-930-3584 or email to sofia.nelson@georgetown.org.

Berry Creek Highlands location map

Downtown parking ambassadors to start

Later this month, two downtown parking ambassadors will start working in the downtown parking zone around the Williamson County Courthouse Square. The primary roles for the part-time City of Georgetown employees will be to provide information to residents and visitors on the Square and enforce the three-hour parking ordinance. The downtown parking ambassadors are expected to start by mid-March.

The downtown parking ambassadors will help to direct visitors to free parking lots in the downtown and also provide directions to restaurants, shops, and government offices. Free parking lots are located at 10th and Main streets, Sixth and Main streets, Seventh and Rock streets, Austin Avenue and Fifth Street, Martin Luther King and Eighth streets, and Martin Luther King and Seventh streets. There is a public four-story parking garage at Fourth and Rock streets. The free parking lots and garage do not have a three-hour limit.

The downtown parking ordinance limits on-street parking in the downtown parking zone (see map) to three hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. The three-hour limit does not apply on Saturday or Sunday. A violation of the ordinance can result in a warning followed by a fine of $20 for a second offense, $50 for the third offense, and $100 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

The goal of the three-hour limit for on-street spaces in the downtown zone is to provide for the turnover of these spaces and increase the periodic availability of spaces in the zone throughout the day. The three-hour limit does not apply to disabled parking spaces in the zone. Residents who live in the downtown zone may apply for a residential parking zone permit.

To find out more about events, shops, restaurants, and attractions in downtown Georgetown, go to visit.georgetown.org or arts.georgetown.org or mainstreet.georgetown.org.

Georgetown Public Library named as finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the Georgetown Public Library has been named a finalist for the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The library is one of 29 finalists named.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 24 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“Being named a finalist for the IMLS National Medal is truly an honor and community achievement,” Library Director Eric Lashley said. “It is exciting for our staff, volunteers, and community partners to be recognized at the national level for our efforts to engage, enlighten, and empower members of our community.”

The San Antonio Public Library is the only public library in Texas to have won the IMLS National Medal.

“The 29 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources,” IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions. We congratulate them on the work they are doing across the United States.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Georgetown Public Library programs including the WOW!Mobile, the community resources coordinator, arts and culture coordination for the City, art and music programming in the library, children’s and teen programing, and the strong Friends of the Georgetown Public Library organization all helped to make the library stand out from other applications.

IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited the library to share their story on social media. To #ShareYourStory, please visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS or www.twitter.com/us_imls and use #IMLSmedals.

National Medal winners will be announced later this spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions at the National Medal Ceremony on May 24 in Washington, D.C.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit www.imls.gov.

Georgetown named as finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

Georgetown is one of 35 Champion Cities selected this week as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to develop innovative ideas that confront challenges facing their cities. Georgetown was selected as a finalist amongst more than 320 applications.

The City now advances to the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition. Cities will refine their ideas during this process with up to $100,000, as well as personalized support from innovation experts, to test and begin building support for their urban innovations and submit a new application in August 2018. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to bring their ideas to life.

“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria, including vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee co-chaired by former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and former Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives and social innovation leaders assessed the applications.

Georgetown’s innovative idea involves developing the “virtual power plant.” While Georgetown is the first and largest city in Texas to secure 100 percent of its purchased power from renewable sources, there are cost uncertainty and reliability concerns related to transporting that energy over long distances. The City of Georgetown hopes to be able to lease rooftop space on residential and commercial properties to install solar panels that will generate enough energy to offset the need to purchase power from outside sources in this completely renewable energy-powered city.

“The City executed purchased power agreements to cover Georgetown’s energy usage with 100 percent renewable energy, making Georgetown one of the largest city-owned utilities to do so,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said. “The media coverage that followed this announcement was seen by more than two billion people. I welcome this opportunity to blaze the next renewable energy trail.”

For more information, please visit bloomberg.org.

Candidates file for City Council election in May

The candidate filing period for the City Council District 1 and 5 elections in Georgetown on May 5 ended today at 5 p.m. Incumbent Anna Eby and Mary Calixtro have filed for District 1, and Kevin Pitts has filed to run in District 5. Incumbent Ty Gipson announced he would not seek re-election in the District 5 race.

To see maps of council districts, go to maps.georgetown.org/council-district-maps.

Georgetown City Council members serve three-year terms representing one of seven single-member districts.

The last day to register to vote in the May election is April 5.

Early in-person voting is April 23 through May 1. In the Early Voting period, voters may cast ballots at any Early Voting location in Williamson County.

On Election Day on May 5, voters may cast ballots at any vote center location in Williamson County. Polling places, dates, and times will be listed at wilco.org/elections.

For details about the city election, contact Shelley Nowling, city secretary for the City of Georgetown, at Shelley.Nowling@georgetown.org or (512) 930-3652.

Georgetown Accepting Proposals to Purchase Downtown Properties

The City of Georgetown is accepting proposals from potential buyers for three city-owned buildings. The buildings for sale are the historic post office at 113 E. Eighth St., the Municipal Court/City Council Chambers at 101 E. Seventh St., and the Visitors Center at 103 W. Seventh St. The Municipal Court and the Visitors Center buildings are located on the historic Square around the Williamson County Courthouse. The historic post office is located one block east of the Square and is currently home to City Hall.

In total, these buildings represent more than 25,000 square feet of commercial space in the nine-block core of downtown Georgetown. All three properties are zoned mixed-use downtown, which allows for a number of uses including office, retail, restaurant, hotel, or event facility.

While purchase price is one consideration, the goal of this process is to connect with buyers willing to provide the best overall proposal for of each property. Proposers must submit a business plan and timeline detailing the intended use of the site.

All three properties are located in the city’s Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone or TIRZ. The purpose of the TIRZ is to facilitate the redevelopment of downtown Georgetown, furthering the goals of the city’s Downtown Masterplan to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented environment. Both the TIRZ plan and the Downtown Masterplan call for the use of public property to ensure Georgetown maintains its unique character, maximizes opportunities for thoughtful development, and enhances the quality of life for residents.

Proposals are due by 2 p.m. on May 1. The City will be hosting two open houses for all three properties. The open houses will begin at each building at 4 p.m. on March 1 and March 8.

More information about the process and about each property, including photos, maps, videos, and a virtual tour, is available at realestate.georgetown.org. Visitors to the site also can sign up for regular email updates about the process.

Holt Cat breaks ground on Georgetown facility

Holt Cat, a Caterpillar equipment sales, rental, parts and service dealer, broke ground Jan. 30 on a regional Caterpillar facility at 2101 Airport Road near the intersection of Lakeway Drive and I-35.

The 85,000-square-foot facility is expected to open by summer 2019 and create 130 new jobs with a net benefit to the City of more than $16 million over 10 years.

City Council approved an economic development agreement with the construction equipment company in December that included a rebate of up to $2 million in sales taxes generated by the company over five years if the company meets its expectations. The council also approved a $185,000 Georgetown Economic Development Corp. grant to connect a future wastewater line extension. The line will be able to serve adjacent commercial properties when they develop.

“City council’s vision for Georgetown is ‘a caring community, honoring our past and innovating for the future.’ Businesses like Holt Cat are part of that future,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “Holt’s corporate culture and history of community partnership are a perfect match with Georgetown. We are committed to growing a strong and sustainable commercial corridor, and Holt Cat is a wonderful addition to our business community.”

Before it opens, the company expects to spend a minimum of $20 million in infrastructure and improvements. According to the agreement, the company is expected to have a minimum of $35 million in sales per year starting in the second year of operations through year six.

“Georgetown is one of the fastest-growing cities, not just in Texas, but in the U.S. Investments in construction and infrastructure are driving demand for heavy equipment and services, and with this new location, we can better serve our customers in this region,” said Peter J. Holt, Holt Cat CEO and general manager.

The location will be the company’s largest retail location built in more than 30 years and will be a state-of-the-art facility, said Tony Shedrock, Holt Cat vice president of general services.

Holt Cat expects to hire specialized heavy-equipment mechanics as well as administrative, sales, and marketing positions with an average salary of $48,500.

The San Antonio-based company sells, rents and services Caterpillar machines, engines, generator sets and trucks throughout a 118-county region including South, Central, North, and Northeast Texas.

Citizen Police Academy spring session

The Citizen Police Academy is a 12-week course taught by police officers to educate citizens about all aspects of the Georgetown Police Department. Classes in the spring 2018 academy include code of criminal procedure, accident investigations, use of force, crime scene investigations, hostage negotiations, special weapons and tactics, and victim services. The deadline to apply is March 13.

Weekly classes are on Thursday evenings starting on March 22 through June 7. Class sessions are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The first class will be held in the training room of the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, 3500 D.B. Wood Road.

There is no charge to attend the academy, but seating is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications are available at the Georgetown Police Department reception desk at the Public Safety Operations and Training Center or by emailing a request to randy.mcdonald@georgetown.org. All applicants will be notified of acceptance via email.

Georgetown Parks and Recreation announces spring break camps

Georgetown Parks and Recreation will offer spring break camps for students March 12-16. Pricing and schedules vary for each program.

Participants can select from four camps:

  • Camp Goodwater (ages 5-12; $140 resident/$175 nonresident) includes a variety of activities such as games, crafts and weird science projects. The week will end with a field trip to Mt. Playmore.
  • Tennis Camp (ages 7-12; $140 resident/$175 nonresident) focuses on stroke instruction, footwork drills, court games and match play.
  • Junior Tennis Academy (ages 11-18; $100 resident/$125 nonresident) is designed for competitive junior players. Each session will include footwork drills, conditioning, fast pace drills, shot selection and some match play.
  • Teen Adventure Camp (ages 12-17; $250 resident/$315 nonresident) takes participants on a rock climbing and paddling adventure near the scenic Palo Pinto Mountains near Stephenville, Texas.

Spring break camp registration begins on Thursday, Feb. 1. For more information and to register, visit parks.georgetown.org/camp or call (512) 930-3596.

2018: A Look Ahead

Two years ago, the Census Bureau found that Georgetown was the fastest growing city in the U.S. with a population above 50,000. Last year, we were the fifth-fastest growing city. Knowing that this trend will continue, many more folks will begin to call Georgetown home in 2018.

Thoughtfully managing growth is always a challenge. We are preparing for the growth that we know will come. We’ve tallied it up and with all the road, park, and utility projects currently underway, we have more than $214 million in new projects under construction. Three new water towers are visual markers indicating how we are expanding key infrastructure to match our population growth.

What’s happening in Georgetown in 2018? Here’s a look ahead at some of the big stories to follow this year.

Economic Development

We started off the year with the opening of the new Randalls store on Williams Drive, providing a new option for groceries here in Georgetown. Wolf Crossing, a 250,000 square foot retail development across I-35 from Wolf Ranch is slated to break ground this spring. Just north of Wolf Ranch, Wolf Lakes recently announced their vision for a mixed-use village concept with office, medical, retail, and residential components across their 164 acres.

Another large employer breaking ground is January is Holt Cat. They will build a sales and service center for Caterpillar equipment on Airport Road. We look forward to this $20 million facility in our city that will result in 129 new jobs.

Mobility Improvements

This year we will open the Southwest Bypass, the largest road project in city history. When completed, the bypass will provide an important new loop on the south and west sides of the city. The City will also begin work on the Rivery Blvd extension and Northwest Blvd bridge overpass.

Solar Power Starts

This summer, Georgetown will begin receiving power from a 150-megawatt solar facility in West Texas. When that happens, Georgetown will become one of the few cities in the U.S. with 100 percent wind and solar power sources.

Garey Park and San Gabriel Park

Later this year we look forward to the opening of the 525-acre Garey Park.  When it opens, Garey Park will feature picnic areas, hiking and horse-riding trails, an equestrian center, and the Garey House event center. In addition, we will be completing the first phase of renovations to San Gabriel Park and starting on the second phase of work, which will include a new trail segment from the park to the Katy Crossing neighborhood.

Public Safety

Work will begin soon on Fire Station 6, located on Williams Drive at FM 3405. The new station will help with fire and medical response times on the northwest side of the city. Work also is beginning this year for Fire Station 7, which will be on the east side of the city on University Avenue at Inner Loop.

New City Hall and Municipal Court

After breaking ground in November, renovations are now underway for the new City Hall and the Council Chambers and Municipal Court building. These projects will consolidate key city offices into one downtown campus. The project should be complete by the end of 2018.

Last year, the Georgetown City Council confirmed a new vision statement for the city. “Georgetown: A caring community honoring our past and innovating for the future.”

This period of incredible growth and vitality is laying the foundation for the future that our children and grandchildren will inherit. Great things are in store for Georgetown. If we keep honoring our past and innovating for the future, I think Georgetown residents will look back fifty years from now and thank us for a job well done.