TOWN & COUNTRY
County Judge-elect Bill Gravell Talks Transition, Leadership and Customer Service The more we do life together, the more we learn from each other With more than 607,000
residents, 1,800 employees, five senior division chiefs and 28 elected officials, Williamson County is hardly a sleepy Texas hamlet any more. Having earned 103,740 votes on election day, Bill Gravell is already asking himself how he can inspire the remaining 400,000 next time. On his transition from JP3 to County Judge, Gravell says he is looking forward to new challenges and is preparing now for the job; "We are a multi-million dollar corporation and the business of this County doesn't stop. Additionally, the Texas Legislature goes into session January 8, and
to date have given him a sense that what most of his electeds and officials seek is leadership and a path to emerge from current conflicts and move forward. "My first priority is to remind all of our elected officials that we are here to serve and customer service should be everyone's top priority. Internally, in 2019, we are beginning the 'customer service matters' campaign. What my staff accomplished at the JP3 level, in terms of kindness and service, is about to be a major initiative for the entire County. And we have a wall of awards to show that we know how to do that well."
I want people to know we notice and appreciate all the people who keep the county running smoothly, and I will be visible about it. I went to a symposium for training our emergency communications staff recently. I wanted to say thank you to Adam. He has been up in the middle of the night for years, kindly and professionally calling me to report to death scenes. I wanted to thank him publicly but he wasn't there. It turns out he has chosen to work the night shift because he wants to be home during the day as he is raising his 11-year-old nephew and that day he had taken the boy to a professional football game. Those are the people I want to celebrate, and the values I want to share. Fortunately, Adam is just one of 100 stories I can tell about our great County. we can't wait until the oaths are taken January 1 to start preparing. I am confident if we handle it well, the transitions will be flawless and no on will notice much more than one name drifting into the news and one name drifting out." Judge Gravell's meetings
Judge Gravell has enlisted Tax Assessor Larry Gaddes to lead the way and is confident that he will do that job and set an exceptional example. On a larger scale, Judge Gravell will implement a leadership program, "Wilco University", which will be instrumental in preparing
lower level management our citizens every day. "I are making deliberate to be the next generation want us to share ups and choices, taking steps of leadership in the county. downs, work together and and doing it right. "We will use the amazing expect to be exceptional for And, as always, at the teachers, leaders and equip- the sake of the values of the end of the day, it is my pers who already work here people who live here." job to ask everyone I to facilitate the 18-month What is not going to meet, 'What can I do to programs so there will be change is his level of help you?' The answer no additional expense to the visibility. "You're going to always county. Our progress will see more of your Judge; I mean more to the county will tweet and take selfies in terms of succession and you will hear a lot planning so we are well of stories about a lot prepared when senior jobs of people doing change hands." good. We spend Outside County governtoo much time ment, Judge Gravell also talking about will have monthly breakwhat people fasts with the cities' mayors. "Some of the brightest minds I know are in city government. Why shouldn't we want the folks in Liberty Hill to learn from the Mayor of Round Rock, or the Mayor of Granger helping the Mayor of Taylor? I plan to discuss not just our challenges and struggles, but also about life and how we can all learn to live, work, play and fight together. Not among ourselves but together, and for all the people of the County." The Judge also plans to encourage Judge Gravell with Republican electeds on election night â€˘ Congressman John Carter (R-TX31) â€˘ 368th Dist elected officials to Judge Rick Kennon, 277th Dist Judge Stacey Mathews (right) and 277th court admin. Wanda Davidson. take a day off to "take off the robes duties as JP3, which he and uniforms and put on do that's bad. I want to celleads me to what matters says never stop. But he is their jeans" to volunteer at ebrate the good things and to people and that's where confident that his JP3 and The Serving Center, Habitat the people who do them." the service, and kindness, transition teams are manfor Humanity, or R.O.C.K. For now, Judge Gravell begin." aging both very well. "We and see what people do for continues to manage his
Keeping Williamson County Great
Williamson County voters set a record for voter participation (62.25%) in the 2018 midterm election. But, Glenda Dennison of Sun City personally embodied a true commitment to civic responsibility and inspired thousands on social media with her story. Glenda has a terminal diagnosis of brain cancer and had been homebound for several months. She confided to friend Betty Schleder that she did not want to let this election day go by without helping Bill Gravell become County Judge but she had no way to get to the polls. Schleder, well known for her willing and resourcefulness, made sure that Glenda got her wish. She hooked a trailer to her pickup and strapped Glenda's wheelchair to it. (Glenda and Charlie rode up front to Cowan Creek.) Once there, Schleder had pre-arranged for a voting machine to be brought outside to the truck. Supervised by election judges Cathy Cody (R) and Don Keller (D), Glenda cast an emotional ballot. Judge Gravell commented, "It is deeply humbling to see the sacrifice of one for the sake of a vote. Glenda, I will always remember you." Glenda said, "That's awesome, thank you." At left: Judge Bill Gravell, Charlie and Glenda Dennison, Betty Schleder celebrate voting at the Cowan Creek polling center on election day. 9
MAYOR'S UPDATE: NEW DEVELOPMENT IN DOWNTOWN
by Dale Ross
If you’ve been in downtown Georgetown
recently, you’ve probably seen a number of construction sites near the Square. Several new development or redevelopment projects are currently underway and more are in the planning stages. These projects represent both public and private investment in our downtown—an entertainment and cultural district as well as an economic engine for the community. Georgetown City Center Georgetown City Center (above), formerly known as Downtown West, will open in late January. City Center is a collection of City government offices located at Martin Luther King Jr. and Ninth streets. The municipal campus includes new construction for City Hall and Council and Court buildings as well as the current Light and Waterworks building and the Georgetown Public Library. City Center will centralize several offices that are currently scattered throughout the city. In addition to providing needed facility space, the new campus enables easier collaboration for City employees and convenience for residents using City services.
To help provide more parking for City Center, the public parking lot at MLK and Eighth streets will be expanded. Vacant buildings on Seventh and Eighth streets will be removed to allow for 66 additional spaces across from the Georgetown Public Library. The expanded lot will have 204 spaces. The parking lot also will include a new turn-in and bus stop area for GoGeo and CARTS buses. Restaurants and distillery in City buildings Georgetown City Council approved the real estate contract for the sale of two downtown buildings in October. The proposal for the historic Post Office at 113 E. Eighth St. is from City Post Partnership for a ballroom, restaurant, and bar. The proposal for the Municipal Court and Council Chambers at 101 E. Seventh St. is from Loyal Spirits Distilling Company and URBAN Eat. Drink for a restaurant and micro-distillery. The City hopes to close on the properties in early-2019 in advance of moving into the City Center facilities. The proceeds from the building sales help offset the costs of construction for City Center.
200-seat theater, classrooms, a dance studio, and offices. Plans for Riverplace Georgetown, (photo left) a three-story mixed-use building, were approved by the Historic and Architectural Review Commission in September. The project at Austin Avenue and Second Street will include commercial space and covered parking on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and residential units on the third floor. In addition, plans are underway for a new two-story mixed-used building at the corner of Eighth and Church streets. Finally, a new
CVS store will open in 2019 at the corner of University and Austin avenues. While 2018 has seen a significant number of new developments, we will continue in 2019 to maintain Georgetown’s unique character, maximize opportunities for thoughtful development, and enhance the quality of life for our residents. These investments by the community complement the significant preservation and development efforts of the past and those that are planned for the future, ensuring we remain the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.
New buildings in downtown A number of new commercial projects are currently under construction or are set to start in 2019. The Watkins building, a two-story 9,600-square-foot building at 815 S. Main St., will house Watkins Insurance Group offices on the second floor and another tenant on the first floor. The new building next to the Grace Heritage Center is expected to open next year. A ground break November 13 marked the start of construction on the Palace Theater Smith Performance Center, a three-story building on Rock and Second streets. The new educational center will include a
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"Style in Action" in Sun City
Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties held an inaugural luncheon and style show at the Sun City ballroom December 3 to raise awareness and money for Meals on Wheels of Williamson & Burnet Counties. More than 300 guests raised nearly $20,000 to help ensure homebound seniors will have hot, nutritious food during the holidays and throughout the year. After a successful start in Burnet County last Spring, the agency plans to make the fashion show a signature event in both counties, with support (and models)
from local boutiques like Pink Poppy, The Caring Place, and Diva Chicks; as well as sponsorships from James Avery and Round Rock Nissan. The Sun City event also featured lunch service by some "distinguished gentlemen of the county"; Judge Bill Gravell, Jarrell police chief Marc Owen, Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall and police chief Maverick Campbell who garnered nearly $2000 in "tips" that were donated to the cause. Visit MealsOnWheelsWilliamsonBurnet.org for information or to donate for the holidays.
Above: Development Director Lauren McAndrews wraps up the fashion show for guests. â€˘ Inset: County Judge-elect Bill Gravell took a break from serving lunch with W.H.O. volunteers Kathy Grebb, Peggy Springer, Debby Hall, Sarah Huddleston and Sandy Goodman.
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