by Mayor Dale Ross
Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates showing that Georgetown is ranked seventh on the list of fastest-growing cities in the country with a population of more than 50,000. Georgetown’s growth rate was 5.2 percent from July 1, 2017, through July 1, 2018, resulting in a population estimate of 74,180.
Now I promise, we’re not trying to be the fastest-growing city in the U.S. Frankly, people choose Georgetown because we are a safe city with a high-quality of life, great parks, an award-winning library, a low tax rate, and the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. We recognize what a great place Georgetown is, and others recognize it, too.
Certainly one reason we are attracting so many people is that Georgetown is well-positioned in a fast-growing metro area. We are working to make the most of opportunities to bring high-quality employers to our city, while preserving Georgetown’s authentic charm and character. We’re fortunate to have like-minded partners such as Southwestern University, Georgetown ISD, Williamson County, St. David’s, and Sun City, too.
Georgetown was the sixth fastest-growing city in the U.S. on the list released last year by the Census. In 2017, Georgetown was the fifth fastest-growing city in the U.S., the fastest in 2016, and the second fastest in 2015. Our population was 47,400 in the 2010 census. According to the Census estimate, Georgetown added 26,780 residents with a growth rate of 56.5 percent from 2010 to 2018.
The addition of new residents and businesses does help the City maintain one of the lowest tax rates in the region. This growth helps fund the infrastructure needed to prepare for our residents. In fact, we are on pace to complete a decade’s worth of voter approved road bonds in just seven years.
We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can stop growth. According to the Texas Demographic Center, the Austin region is expected to more than double in size by the year 2050. Central Texas will go from 2 million in population to 5 million.
What is Georgetown doing to prepare for the growth we know is coming?
In the summer of 2016, the Economic Development Department conducted a workforce analysis to determine the supply, demand, and gap of workers and skill sets.
According to current projections, five industry clusters will account for 75 percent of all new jobs. Those five areas are healthcare, retail, electronics, entertainment, and construction.
These projections are all consistent with the recent investments we’ve seen in Georgetown. These are some of the projects planned or underway which each can be seen as the result of our growing population:
• Wolf Crossing – a 600,000-square-foot retail development at the southeast corner of Interstate 35 and University Avenue along the San Gabriel River, with stores opening the end of this year
• Sedro Crossing – a 170,000-square-foot speculative professional office development on Williams Drive currently under construction
• Westinghouse Road Corporate Center – a 95,000-square-foot speculative flex development over five buildings on Westinghouse Road
• Inner Vision – a speculative flex development expanding with an additional 22,000 square feet currently under construction on SE Inner Loop
• Wolf Lakes Village – a 164-acre, master-planned development with office, retail, and residential elements on the northwest corner of I-35 and University Avenue with plans to break ground on the first phase later this year
All of these developments, along with new infill projects in our historic downtown, are evidence of Georgetown’s growing population and vibrant economy.
These types of investments and partnerships are what allow us to protect and maintain the safe, small-town feel that our residents expect us to preserve. City Council is committed to preserving Georgetown’s unique charm and character – from the San Gabriel River, to its great school district and Southwestern University, to having the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas – because these are the reasons why people choose to make Georgetown their home.