Downtown Low-Down Meeting October 14

Gumbos front-400Come find out about upcoming City projects and event updates at the next quarterly Downtown Low-Down meeting on Wednesday, October 14.

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:

  • Parking lot at MLK, Jr. and Eighth streets: construction update
  • Second Street utility and streets project: construction update
  • Downtown Parking Study
  • Downtown projects for 2016 (including Downtown West)
  • Best of Georgetown, TX
  • Art Center and Library events
  • Historic Resource Survey update
  • Holiday hours campaign
  • Ladies Nite Out on Nov. 19
  • Shop Small Spree on Nov. 29
  • 2015 holiday events
  • Downtown sales tax trends

Also, find out about new businesses in the downtown district that have opened or are under construction.

Finally, the Main Street Advisory Board will take a photo to promote the Shop Small campaign. The photo will be taken at 8:15 a.m. before the meeting. Plus, everyone gets a pirate eye patch for the photo!

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13 to Jackson Daly at (512) 931-7679 or at jackson.daly@georgetown.org.

Living Uptown in Downtown: Breakfast Bites on Sept. 16

Many of Georgetown’s Victorian-era commercial buildings on the Square included shops and offices on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. While a few second-floor residences remain, a new generation of downtown residences is emerging.

The Breakfast Bites panel Living Uptown in Downtown on September 16 will profile projects that offer residential living in Georgetown’s downtown district.  Breakfast Bites is a quarterly business development event by the Georgetown Main Street Program. A number of downtown residential developers will be on the panel:

Sam Pfiester is a local developer who is planning a new residential town home project on the north side of the downtown area. Pfiester also is a partner in Monument Café and El Monumento, two restaurants in the downtown area. Sam and his wife Rebecca also live in the Old Town area near downtown.

Kent Collins is the developer of the 400 Main Street project, which is a redevelopment project that includes four townhomes and four single-family residences on Main Street on the north side of downtown.

Robert Choi is a partner in Tamiro Plaza, a multi-story commercial development on the north side of downtown that includes offices and two restaurants: Nancy’s Sky Garden and Uptown Social. A new phase of Tamiro Plaza will include residential units.

Justin Bohls is the owner of Union on Eighth, an event center on the east side of downtown in the former Conway Transmission shop. Justin and his wife Katy also live in an historic home in the Old Town area near downtown.

The moderator for the panel is Laurie Brewer, assistant city manager for the City of Georgetown and director of the Downtown and Community Services Division.

The event on Wednesday, September 16 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking starts at 8 a.m.

Attendees should pre-register by contacting Shelly Hargrove, Main Street manager, by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 14 at shelly.hargrove@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Downtown and Community Services Department.

Vote for the Best of Georgetown, TX in September

Best-of-G'town_wURL-webWhere’s the best place to take kids in Georgetown? Where is the best lunch spot? The best dessert? The best wedding venue?

During the month of September, vote in the online poll for the Best of Georgetown, TX with 42 categories for local businesses, attractions, services, and activities in Georgetown.

Voting starts on September 1 and ends on September 30. Vote online at Bestof.Georgetown.org. Each ballot must include at least 20 categories.

The top three winners in each category will be announced on First Friday on November 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Union on Eighth Street at 224 E. Eighth Street. The list of winners will be posted at Bestof.Georgetown.org.

Winning businesses receive window decals as well as certificates showing their award and category. In addition, the business name will be listed on the 2015 winners flyer at the Visitors Center and on the Bestof.Georgetown.org website for one year. Winners will have access to the Best of Georgetown 2015 logo for use in their websites and printed material.

The annual Best of Georgetown, TX contest is sponsored by the City of Georgetown Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Downtown Low-Down Meeting July 15

Come find out about upcoming City projects and event updates at the next quarterly Downtown Lowdown meeting on Wednesday, July 15.

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:

  • New parking lot at MLK and Eighth streets
  • Downtown parking study
  • Art Center and Library events
  • Updated historic preservation ordinance and processes
  • National Register Historic District expansions
  • May 2015 Transportation Bond
  • Second Street utility, street, and sidewalk project
  • Sidewalk accessibility ordinance
  • Main Street façade and sign grants
  • Downtown sales tax trends
  • Downtown West plans

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, July 14 to Jackson Daly at (512) 931-7679 or at jackson.daly@georgetown.org.

July 4 Celebration and Fireworks at San Gabriel Park

The 32nd annual Sertoma Club July 4th celebration and fireworks display will be held at San Gabriel Park on Saturday, July 4. The event is sponsored by the Georgetown Sertoma Club service organization with assistance from the City of Georgetown.

Hometown Parade in the Park

A July 4th Hometown Parade in San Gabriel Park begins at 11 a.m. at the low-water crossing near the College Street Bridge and ends at the gazebo. Participants should gather at 10:30 a.m. at the low-water crossing. Kids are encouraged to decorate their wagons or bicycles for the parade. No motorized vehicles or pets. The annual parade is sponsored by the Leadership Georgetown Alumni.

Fireworks

The fireworks display begins at approximately 9:30 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from the McMaster Athletic Fields on N. College Street. Fireworks can be viewed from San Gabriel Park, VFW Park, and other areas in Georgetown. The main entrance to San Gabriel Park is via Chamber Way on N. Austin Avenue.

Entertainment, Food, and Activities

A festival area at San Gabriel Park opens at 11 a.m. with arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, a petting zoo, rides for children and adults, a trackless train, remote-controlled cars, and a nine-hole miniature golf course.

Below is a schedule of events for performances at the gazebo in San Gabriel Park:

  • 11 a.m. Hometown Parade followed by performance with Miss Georgetown and her court
  • 12 p.m. Annie and Kate
  • 1 p.m. Jo Ellyn Lyons
  • 2 p.m. Dance Party
  • 3 p.m. Brett McMinn
  • 4 p.m. Alex Winters
  • 5 p.m. Lucian Nastase Jr. and Anna Lucia Nastase
  • 6 p.m. Xander Ortiz
  • 7 p.m. Roland Waits
  • 8 p.m. Georgetown Fire Department Pipes and Drums
  • 8:45 p.m. Elvis (Mike Elliott)
  • 9:30 p.m. National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance
  • Fireworks

For updates to July 4 events, visit the Georgetown Sertoma Facebook page at facebook.com/GTSertoma.

Parking

Limited parking in San Gabriel Park includes the parking lots at the Show Barn and the Rodeo Arena. Public parking also is available in the lot at the former Albertsons, accessible via Morrow Street on N. Austin Avenue or Interstate 35. Attendees also are encouraged to park at Georgetown High School and carpool to San Gabriel Park. Limited handicapped parking is available in designated areas in San Gabriel Park.

Both the McMaster Fields parking lot and the Parks and Recreation Administration parking lot at N. College Street and W.L. Walden Drive will be closed due to their proximity to the fireworks fall zone.

College Street and McMaster Fields Closure

Due to the fireworks fall zone, N. College Street will be closed on Saturday from approximately 9 to 11 p.m. between the traffic circle and Holly Street. Parking, standing, or sitting along N. College Street in that segment will not be permitted during this time.

The McMaster Athletic Fields will be closed all day on Saturday, July 4.

Fireworks Prohibited

By City of Georgetown ordinance, fireworks of any kind are not allowed in the city limits of Georgetown or within 5,000 feet of the city limits, unless they are used in a permitted display authorized by the Georgetown Fire Department. This area outside city limits includes, but is not limited to, the neighborhoods of Cedar Hollow, Crystal Knoll, Escalera, Fountainwood, Indian Creek, Logan Ranch Road, Lost Rivers, Oak Crest, Olde Oak Estates, Serenada, Shady Oaks, Turtle Bend, and Woodland Park, and areas along D.B Wood Road.

The discharge of fireworks is prohibited in the city limits or within the 5,000-foot buffer beyond city limits. Violations can lead to fines of up to $2,000 per firework. To view a map showing the 5,000-foot boundary, go to files.georgetown.org/fireworks-ban-map.

Historic District Expansions Proposed at Meeting June 15

Creation of a new Forest Street Historic District and expansion of the existing Williamson County Courthouse Historic District are two recommendations of a report on the National Register Historic Districts in Georgetown. Highlights of the report will be presented in a public meeting on Monday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Communication and Technology Building, 510 W. Ninth Street.

The City project to assess and update the National Register Historic Districts began in October. One goal of the project is to ensure that as many property owners as possible would be eligible for the new State of Texas tax credits for historic preservation. Previous meetings included a kick-off public meeting to introduce the project last year on November 5 and a workshop on March 17 to provide detailed information about the new tax credit program.

The City of Georgetown hired historic preservation consultant Steph McDougal, of McDoux Preservation, a Houston-area firm, to review the four historic districts that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s and 1980s. McDougal determined that the Williamson County Courthouse Historic District boundaries could be expanded to include buildings constructed in the 1935 to 1965 period known as the “highway era.”

She also has recommended the creation of a new historic district in the Forest Street area, south of downtown. That potential new district was first identified in the 2007 survey of historic resources conducted by Hardy-Heck-Moore, an Austin consulting firm. The 2007 survey also recommended the creation of the Olive Street Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 2013.

McDougal and City Historic Planner Matt Synatschk will be on hand to explain the project, findings, recommendations, and next steps. They will answer questions and have handouts about the proposals.

The new State of Texas franchise tax credit for historic preservation became available in January 2015. The state tax incentive allows property owners to receive a tax credit worth 25 percent of the qualifying expenses associated with rehabilitating a historic building.

In the past, many Georgetown property owners have taken advantage of the federal historic tax credit for historic preservation, which equals up to 20 percent of qualifying project expenses. In order to qualify for the federal program and the new state program, properties must be individually listed on the National Register or classified as “contributing” to a national register historic district.

When the four Georgetown historic districts were listed on the National Register in the 1970s and 1980s, many buildings were either excluded from the district or listed as non-contributing because they were not yet 50 years old. Today, that period can be extended by 30 to 40 years to 1965, potentially enabling many more Georgetown property owners to take advantage of the tax credits.

This project is being funded in part through a certified local government grant from the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, as administered by the Texas Historical Commission.

For more information about the City of Georgetown’s historic preservation programs or the current National Register historic districts, visit historic.georgetown.org or contact Matt Synatschk at (512) 930-3581 or Matt.Synatschk@georgetown.org.

Georgetown Main Street Program Recognized

The Georgetown Main Street Program was recently recognized with national accreditation by the National Main Street Center. The Georgetown Main Street Program is accredited by meeting performance benchmarks in planning, partnerships, staffing, volunteer effort, preservation ethic, training, and program assessment through reporting.

Georgetown Main Street Program activities in 2014 include $28,411 in façade and sign reimbursement grants to seven downtown businesses, Ladies Nite Out, the Georgetown Swirl wine and food event, the Light Up the Square holiday lighting campaign, and the annual collectible ornament sale.

Each year, the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, announces the list of accredited Main Street programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach of organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring—all within the context of historic preservation.

main st board 2015-b1000

Pictured in the photo are (left to right) Shelly Hargrove, Georgetown Main Street Program manager, and Main Street Advisory Board members Vicki Jackimiec, Jim Wilson, David Kellerman, JJ Parker, and Cindy Harrington. (Click on photo for larger version.)

For more information about the Georgetown Main Street Program, go to mainstreet.georgetown.org. For more information on the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street program, visit www.thc.state.tx.us.

Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts.

Marking History on the Square: Postponed

Updated, May 15: The Marking History walking tour and the Historic Marker Rehabilitation Workshop that were scheduled for tomorrow have been postponed due to the forecast for rain. The City and The Williamson Museum will publicize the new date when the events are re-scheduled.
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Local history experts in period costumes will tell stories from Georgetown’s past in an event on Georgetown’s Courthouse Square on May 16. The self-guided walking tour called Marking History on Saturday, May 16 is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is one of several Preservation Month activities in May.

The tour is sponsored by The Williamson Museum in partnership with the Georgetown Main Street Program and the Georgetown Heritage Society. The Marking History walking tour is free and open to the public.

During the self-guided tour, historical markers around the Square will come to life with interpreters in period costumes telling the stories of the buildings and the people who built them. From the Grace Heritage Center and the old fire station on the southeast side of the Square to the Lockett Building on the northwest corner—and at several historical markers in between—visitors will be entertained with the tales of Georgetown’s past. To start the Marking History tour, go to the Williamson Museum at 716 S. Austin Avenue on the Square to pick up a map.

Marker Rehab Workshop: On the morning of May 16, there will be an historic marker rehabilitation workshop at from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The workshop starts at 9 a.m. on the south steps of the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main Street. The group will divide into teams and participants will learn the rehabilitation techniques by working on historic markers around the Square. The workshop is sponsored by the City’s Historic Preservation office, the Texas Historical Commission, The Williamson Museum, and the Williamson County Historical Commission.

Art Exhibition: Artworks from the Paint Out on Church Street will be on display on May 16 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Grace Heritage Center, 811 S. Main Street. Works by approximately 20 artists featuring scenes along Church Street will be displayed. The pieces were painted during the Paint Out on Church Street event that was held on May 2 and sponsored by The Georgetown Art Center and the Georgetown Heritage Society. The exhibit will be on display at Grace Heritage Center May 11 through May 16. The show will be open Monday through Friday 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Breakfast Bites on May 20: Capitalizing on Cultural Arts

15-5-20 Breakfast Bites Flyer - Cultural ArtsGeorgetown’s historic downtown area became a state-designated cultural district in 2013. The official listing by the Texas Commission on the Arts recognizes the many arts and cultural offerings in the 40-block downtown overlay area. Georgetown has one of 26 cultural districts in 23 Texas cities.

The Breakfast Bites panel on May 20 will look at ways that retailers, restaurants, and other businesses can capitalize on Georgetown’s cultural district designation. The panel includes speakers from three anchor attractions in the Georgetown cultural district. Breakfast Bites is a quarterly business development event by the Georgetown Main Street Program.

The moderator for the May 20 panel is Jane Estes, writer and board member of Texans for the Arts. Estes served for two-terms as president and founding board member of Georgetown Art Works, the managing nonprofit of the Georgetown Art Center. Panelists include:

Marissa Austin is the executive director for the Georgetown Palace Theatre and holds an adjunct faculty position at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Georgetown Palace Theatre has been presenting live theater productions to packed houses since the restoration of their Art Deco building in 2001.

Mickie Ross is the executive director for The Williamson Museum, which offers a variety of exhibits highlighting local histories, people, and themes. In addition to providing cultural programming such as Hands on History, Summer History Camp, and the Salon, the museum holds the annual Chisholm Trail Days festival.

Amanda Still is a state-registered interior designer and art gallery director for Hill Design + Gallery in Georgetown. Still is a member of the Georgetown Arts and Culture board and the Georgetown Art Works board and serves as the fundraising director for the Georgetown Art Center.

The event on Wednesday, May 20 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking starts at 8 a.m.

Attendees should pre-register by contacting Shelly Hargrove, Main Street manager, by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 18 at shelly.hargrove@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Downtown and Community Services Department.

Find out more about cultural districts in Texas at the Texas Commission on the Arts website at www.arts.texas.gov/initiatives/cultural-districts.

Sidewalk Rules Aim to Ensure Accessibility

A City ordinance defining accessibility standards for sidewalks in Georgetown went into effect this month. The new rules aim to ensure ADA-compliant walkways, especially around the Square, in areas where tables, merchandise, and other items are placed on sidewalks.

The new rules require a path that is three feet wide without obstructions on sidewalks. Tables, chairs, planters, signs, merchandise, or other items should be placed so as not to obstruct a path that is three feet wide for pedestrians, wheel-chair users, or others.

The new rules, which went into effect on April 8, apply to all sidewalks in the city, including those in the downtown area.

Other new rules require City approval for signs, artwork, promotional items, or publication boxes on the sidewalk. Outdoor displays of merchandise are allowed only during regular business hours in the Downtown Overlay District. Permanent displays are not permitted. City landscape features or planters may not be used for display or promotion, such as lighting or signs placed by businesses.

Within the nine-block area around the Courthouse in the Downtown Overlay District, smoking is prohibited within 10 feet of any public entrance.