Design Workshop, the urban designer updating the city of Georgetown’s Downtown Master Plan, has received feedback from various online and in-person surveys and will move forward with developing projects to improve downtown area.

What happened

The design firm received 2,738 responses for an online survey asking residents what they want downtown Georgetown to look like moving forward, while they also asked people for the opinions during Williamson County’s 175th anniversary celebration as well as the Red Poppy Festival. They also took trips with the Georgetown City Council to tour the downtown areas of Waxahachie, Bishop Arts District in Dallas, Lower Greenville, McKinney and Grapevine. Design Workshop planners presented the Georgetown City Council with an update on these surveys May 23.

A closer look

Based on public input, the design team found the community is interested in protecting the historic integrity of the downtown square, prioritizing pedestrian-friendly public spaces, and improving connections to and through downtown. Some of the other themes the group found were Georgetown residents want to see historic and underused buildings redeveloped as well as additional art and signage in the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the design firm received some pushback from survey respondents on potential residential developments in the downtown area.

What they’re saying

Several council members discussed the importance of not only expanding walking routes in the downtown area, but maintaining people’s ability to drive to the city’s center. They also touched on negative feedback regarding the development of downtown residential properties.
  • “I think we got to be really careful about how much we give up in automobile capability for pedestrians,” District 4 Council Member Ron Garland said.
Chris Geddes, urban planner, pointed out that survey results came from those who are already residents of Georgetown, and said those respondents are less likely to prioritize more homes.
  • “We know from cities across the country that downtowns without adequate residential won’t thrive,” Geddes said. “So you’ve got to have a number of people who are living there. ... If you want new business, that great bodega or hardware store downtown, you have to have people living there for you to go visit that.”
What’s next

“We’re roughly halfway through this process,” Geddes said. “We’ve done some good engagement, and now it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and put pencils to paper. We’re going to be back in two weeks to talk to the planning commission. We will use this summer to start to develop some framework ideas for what the future options for downtown can be.”