Williamson County: No pipeline to be built through Berry Springs Park

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A wastewater interceptor will not be built through Berry Springs Park and Preserve.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Dec. 18 to prevent the pipeline from being built through the park in order to connect the Berry Creek Lift Station on Airport Road to the Pecan Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant on FM 971.

After a public hearing and discussion period the court voted it was better to prevent the pipeline to run through the park—which is owned by the county—and have the city of Georgetown look for another option in getting the pipeline built.

“I’ve been in a lot of discussion, I’ve been through a lot of things, [and]I have the upmost respect for the leadership of Georgetown,” County Judge Dan Gattis said. “My mind tells me to vote yes; my heart tells me to vote no.”

On Dec. 11 the court heard a presentation from the city on three possible options—with a fourth unattainable option—for the pipeline with only the first option affecting the county. The project would add an underground, nonpressurized pipeline through the park that would provide service to current and future developments along SH 195 and Ronald Reagan Boulevard, according to the presentation.

During the Dec. 18 public hearing Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey presented a possible fifth option that would limit the amount of pipeline to run through the park. But members of the court said they still had too many questions on possible impacts to the park to go confidently forward with the vote.

Covey, who was hesitant in voting against the building of the pipeline, feared the pipeline—which the city needs to accommodate growth—would still harm the park, but the county would have no control over it.

“There is going to be a pipe, and one of my concerns is that it’s going to be right on the other side of what we can yes or no to or anything about or get anything—restoration or trees or anything like that—and if all fears are correct, it’s still going to damage the park,” Covey said.

Now, the city of Georgetown—which approved the funding for the project in June—will have to find an alternate route for the wastewater interceptor, most likely to be diverted around the park property.

“I appreciate very much, Georgetown, everything you did to relieve the fear [of harm to the preserve]that these folks have and the extra money spent in getting us more information,” Covey said. “[But] the city deserve more than dragging this out to next year.”

In other business

Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis during his final regular Commissioners Court meeting. Gattis served 12 years and will retire Dec. 31, 2018.

    • County Judge Dan Gattis presided over his final meeting Tuesday. Gattis was honored with a proclamation and joined by his wife Karen, son Dan Jr. and daughter-in-law Shana. Gattis will retire at the end of the year after serving 12 years. He will be replaced by Judge-elect Bill Gravell, who previously served as Precinct 4 justice of the peace.
    • The court reappointed 15 members of various Emergency Service District boards throughout the county. The term will continue until Dec. 31, 2020:

Thomas Nanninga – Round Rock ESD No. 2
Jordan Baltazor – Round Rock ESD No. 2
Dan Hejl – Hutto ESD No. 3
Irvin Butch Miller – Hutto ESD No. 3
David Bray – Jarrell ESD No. 5
Charles Ashby – Jarrell ESD No. 5
L.D. Cheatheam – Weir ESD No. 6
Susie Fontenot – Weir ESD No. 6
Dave Schumacher – Weir ESD No. 6
James Daniels – Florence ESD No. 7
Keith Couch – Florence ESD No. 7
Richard Wilkes – Georgetown ESD No. 8
Bobby Bunte – Georgetown ESD No. 8
Robert Avant – Coupland ESD No. 10
Mike Rinderknecht – Coupland ESD No. 10

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Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.
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