GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — City leaders will officially open a new $13 million City Center in Georgetown Tuesday, creating what they hope is a more open, welcoming environment for people who need to access city offices and services.
The complex includes two buildings: one to house the new city hall and other offices, the second serving as the new municipal court and council chambers. Just steps from the library, the two are connected by green space the city hopes will attract people to spend time there.
“There’s lots of windows, lots of public spaces, lots of meeting spaces,” said Jack Daly, assistant to the city manager. “So the idea was to make it accessible, make it inviting.”
The atmosphere they’re looking for is a reflection of the woman who provides Georgetown’s first impression to anyone calling or visiting city hall.
“We all have our gifts and our talents,” Linda White said, “and I think mine is just being friendly and helpful and making people feel comfortable.”
With a smile and cheery greeting, White has been welcoming people to city hall for the last five years after a career working for a special utility district. She wouldn’t disclose her age (“I’m mature,” she laughed), but said she doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon.
“I just love this job,” White said. “I have the best job in the city being here in the lobby of city hall. And now that we have our new building, it’s wonderful.”
The new City Center takes over two existing buildings, the old public library and 911 dispatch center on Martin Luther King Jr Street between 8th and 10th streets.
The city also owns property on the other side of Martin Luther King Jr Street, which it can use to expand city offices and green space as needed.
Employees have been working out of the new city hall since January and out of the municipal court building since last month. In that time, Daly said, they’ve noticed the consolidated space has “really fostered a sense of collaboration.”
Even though a lot of city departments shared the old city hall building, they were separated on three different floors, and the age of the building made it difficult to work together. The remodeled library allows better workflow and better communication with people in Georgetown about what to expect.
“The city just kind of knows that here we are, centrally located,” White said, “and they don’t have to question, well, where is this department, that department, whatever.”
The construction was financed through bonds, fees and the sale of other city properties, including the old city hall and council chambers.
City Post LLC bought the old city hall building and will turn it into a restaurant, ballroom and bar, Daly said. The old council chambers building sold to 3M Square One, which told the city it’s planning a restaurant and micro-distillery.