City of Georgetown officials hosted a public meeting Feb. 4 to kick off the update of the city’s Historic Resources Survey. The survey, which was first commissioned in 1984 to identify historic houses and other structures throughout the city, was last updated in 2007.
The city hired Cox McLain Environmental Consulting and SWCA Environmental Consultants to complete the update, which will look at a broader area of Georgetown east of I-35, including the Old Town and Downtown districts, Georgetown Historic Planner Matt Synatschk said. Some properties outside of the designated area will also be resurveyed and considered for designation, he said.
The two organizations will work together to resurvey the properties already on the survey as well as look at properties constructed before 1974 that could be added.
Heather Goodson, historic preservation manager for Cox McLain, said about 3,400 properties will be looked at for the survey update.
“The purpose and goal is to provide an up-to-date inventory of historic-age resources in the expanded area of the [survey], recommendations for preservation of priority and local landmarks, and to provide critical information to the [city’s] planning department,” Goodson said. “One of the things we’ll be doing is building upon the research that’s been done in the previous studies … and looking at the history of Georgetown.”
Structures will be evaluated based on the National Register of Historic Places criteria using Texas Historical Commission data forms. If structures are determined to be historic, they will be given a high, medium or low preservation priority, Synatschk said.
Goodson said the survey would be a record of the city’s past as well as help with planning future developments.
“Surveys provide a record of what the city had over time,” she said. “It provides heritage context and shows what was there before.”
The consultants are also expected to make recommendations for local landmark designations, said Emily Reed, senior architectural historian and project manager for Cox McLain.
“Recent revisions to city code include a local historic landmark designation,” she said. “The purpose is to protect, preserve and enhance buildings, structures, or sites of historical, architectural and cultural importance or value to the city.”
Goodson said the surveyors also hope to collect information from the public, including stories about houses as well as historic photos of those structures, which can be sent to [email protected]
Residents will also have a chance to participate in the surveying process this spring when the consultants host a mobile workshop, which is tentatively scheduled for April 22. Participants will get an overview of the survey methodology as well as learn about architectural styles, how to fill out the forms and photograph structures for documentation. The second half of the workshop will allow those involved to apply those lessons and survey some of the properties themselves.
“You have a great city here, and we are excited to be involved,” Goodson said. “You have a beautiful city, and you celebrate your heritage.”
Goodson said teams will be in Georgetown surveying structures between February and June.
Once the data is completed and processed, a draft survey is expected to be submitted to the city in the fall with a presentation to City Council by the end of the year.