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02 City Summary52 Community Profile Overview Founded July 4, 1848, Georgetown was originally the agricultural trade center for the county and surrounding area. After the Civil War, reconstruction brought prosperity to Georgetown through four main industries -- cattle, cotton, the university and the railroad. Georgetown has enjoyed consistent growth and development through the years. In recent years the City has become more industrialized and commercially oriented. Along with the commercial growth, Georgetown has successfully promoted tourism, which has brought a significant economic benefit to the community. The City of Georgetown’s estimated 2014 population was 52,914 within the city limits, with an estimated population of 77,811 including the extraterritorial jurisdiction. Georgetown is a Home Rule Charter City and operates under the Council-Manager form of government. A mayor and seven council members are elected from single-member districts, with elections being held the first Saturday in May. Historic Georgetown Since the 1982 Georgetown has been synonymous with Main Street, a downtown economic development effort administered through the Texas Historical Commission and the National Main Street Center. The 2013 campaign promotes Georgetown as the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas”. Over $120 million has been reinvested in revitalization efforts in the downtown area. Private and public entities joined in partnership to restore and renovate downtown commercial structures, public buildings as well as building new structures to help anchor the commercial district. This unprecedented success has made our community the shining star of the Texas Main Street program and an example for small cities nationwide to follow. Georgetown was named the First Main Street in Texas, recognized as “Texas Treasure” by First Lady, Anita Perry. It has been the building block for Georgetown’s recent economic development gains. Georgetown was recently selected as a finalist for Parade Magazine’s “Best Main Street in America” award, making the top 8 out of thousands of entries. The restoration of Georgetown’s "living room", one of a few remaining Victorian era downtown squares in the country, has revitalized the heart of Georgetown into a thriving district with shops and restaurants. In 1997, Georgetown gained recognition for the successful effort of its citizens to preserve the historic character of the city when it became the first city in Texas to win the Great American Main Street Award. Georgetown has also been voted the #1 place to retire nationally, according to the “Retirement Places Rated” and Boston Globe. Georgetown also received a #2 ranking of best places to “Live and Launch”, as well as the 2012 recognition as a gold-level certification as a “Certified Scenic City. The Georgetown Square is considered by many to be the finest example in the state of a Victorian town square. Our historic square is certainly the magnet that draws people to Georgetown. However, once they're here, people soon realize there's much more to our community. It's a town with a strong identity and people who care about it... people that make sure we never stop trying to enhance both Georgetown's appeal and the lives of those who choose to live here. Movoto, a real estate company in California, recently placed Georgetown at no. 3 in the country on the top ten list of America’s Best Suburbs. The ranking was based on several factors including shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings, as well as, cost of living, low crime, education, and employment. Cultural Activities Cultural activity thrives in Georgetown. Southwestern University's contribution of quality theater, dance, fine arts and lecture events add a valuable dimension to our cultural life. The Art deco-styled Palace Theatre, located on the downtown square, was renovated and rejuvenated by townspeople, and showcases events such as plays and musicians, as well as, other types of performing arts. Georgetown always has a full calendar of local events including the “up the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drive” down Main Street each September. Other major annual events include the Fourth of July Celebration, Christmas Stroll, and the Red Poppy Festival each Spring. 53 Recreation Georgetown offers a wealth of recreation opportunities through its award winning Parks and Recreation program. In Georgetown there are currently 34 city parks, comprising 473 total developed acres. The parks range from a half-acre neighborhood park to the one hundred-acre city wide San Gabriel Park. There are almost 9 miles of Hike/Bike Trails, including a 1.7 granite trail that loops around San Gabriel Park, three cemeteries, athletic complex, five swimming pools, downtown pocket parks and tennis center, as well as, a wide range of facilities including: softball and baseball fields, soccer fields, playground equipment, individual and group picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts and disc golf. The Tennis Center facility includes a full size swimming pool and baby pool, 11 tennis courts and activity center on 7 wooded acres. San Gabriel Park was named a Lone Star Legacy Park in 2012, and is considered to be the “jewel” of Georgetown with a sunken garden, gazebo, football stadium, rodeo area, creative playscape for children and the Community Center. The 65,000 sq ft Recreation Center includes an indoor pool, an outdoor splash pool, a gymnasium, an indoor track, rooms for exercise classes and activities, a weight room, as well as, activities for teens and seniors. The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Division was presented with an “Outstanding Park Award” from the National Softball Association (NSA) for McMaster Athletic Complex. The complex has won the National Softball Association’s award every year since its opening in 2001, and is recognized by the Association as one of the most outstanding softball complexes in the state. Georgetown’s hike and bike trail was designated a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the only trail in Texas to be so recognized in 2006. In 2007, the division was awarded the TRAPS Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation. In 2009, recognitions include the "Current Plan of the Year Award" from the Central Texas Section of the American Planning Association for the Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan, the APPA Texas Chapter - Current Planning Award for the Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan, and the TRAPS Regional Best Department Marketing Plan for Regions 5 and 7. The Georgetown Public Library is a 55,000 square foot facility which allows for the expansion of book collections and other materials, and includes a reference area and computer work stations, as well as, children’s areas with a performance stage and seating area. Two large community rooms are also located on the second floor. The Library also houses the “Red Poppy Coffee Company”, a locally owned coffee house. In collaboration with the Friends of the Georgetown Library the WOWmobile (Words on Wheels) began operation in early 2012. It operates year around and delivers library materials to residents of Georgetown who find it difficult or impossible to come to the library, targeting three distinct population categories: seniors, residents with limited mobility, and low income children. Education Georgetown is also the home of Southwestern University, an independent, selective four-year undergraduate college, offering a traditional liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Southwestern was the first institution of higher learning in Texas, chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1840 and has received national recognition for its academic program and cost-effectiveness. The 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges lists Southwestern University as among the top 25 small colleges and universities strong in art or design and among the top 37 small colleges and universities strong in business. Georgetown Independent School District (GISD) is a Texas Education Agency “Recognized” school district, and serves a diverse population of Williamson County students from pre-K to 12th grade. Georgetown ISD serves 10,400+ students at ten elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, and two alternative campuses.