October 30, 2022


Georgetown eyes rec center upgrades 

Possible second location under consideration

By BRIGID COOLEY 

A second recreation center could be on its way to Georgetown depending on results of a feasibility study being conducted by the city. 

Preliminary details for the study, which is funded in the city’s 2023 budget, were discussed Tuesday during a city council workshop. 

According to Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Garrett, the existing Georgetown Recreation Center at 1003 North Austin Avenue was built in 1995. It expanded to its now 64,000-square-foot facility in 2009. That expansion was funded through a $10 million bond passed in 2004. 

Now, 13 years later and after gathering resident opinions, the city is looking for ways to improve services provided by the center, she said. 

“The public input that we received during our Parks Master Plan process indicated that the citizens wanted additional adult fitness areas with connection to the outdoors … [additional] gym space and indoor leisure water at the current recreation center,” Ms. Garrett said. “Public input also indicated a new recreation center was also needed on the west side of Georgetown.” 

The feasibility study will determine costs associated with possible renovations and construction, as well as approximate timelines, Ms. Garrett said. The city has drafted a scope of work for the study, which proposes renovation and expansion of the existing recreation center.

“What that more specifically means is to reimagine those interior spaces for efficiency, refresh the aging facility with light renovations and then perform some heavy renovations to improve our quality experiences,” she said. 

The study would also identify what size a second recreation facility should be in order to best serve the existing and future needs of the city. Possible partnerships with other organizations to oversee facility operations will also be explored. 

A possible partner is the YMCA, Ms. Garrett said. Earlier this month, members of city staff had a meeting with YMCA representatives, who expressed intentions to build a facility on the west side of Georgetown. 

“Their vision is for a large facility but, due to funding limitations, they will most likely start with a smaller facility and look at a phased approach,” Ms. Garrett said. “They are open to partnerships because that would allow them to build a larger facility.”

During the meeting, council members provided Ms. Garrett with feedback on what details should be considered in the feasibility study. 

“I think the most responsible thing for us to do is to look at expansion and renovation of our current facility and potentially building a new recreation center,” District 6 Council Member Jake French said. “I do like the idea of a potential partnership. I think it offers probably some operational efficiencies, but maybe even more than that, like some diversity in selection and supply. I think it’s good for the citizens to have options.” 

District 1 Council Member Amanda Parr also supported the proposed scope of work and a possible partnership with the YMCA, while pointing out that the organization is planning to build their facility on a parcel of land located in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. 

“I would have some questions around us building a facility outside of our city limits that has context around the city supporting that,” she said. “Those are details that would probably need to be worked out.” 

After receiving direction from city council, Ms. Garrett said requests for proposals for the feasibility study should be advertised beginning in November and through January. Staff, along with members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, would then present a consultant recommendation to the council in February, with the goal of completing the feasibility study before the budgeting process for the 2024 fiscal year begins next summer.