Round Rock ranks among top U.S. cities for Millennials

According to a recent study conducted by Millennial Personal Finance, Round Rock ranks as the No. 8 “Best City for Millennials.” And while we aren’t too surprised to see our name among the nation’s best, we’re still pretty darn excited!

But… Millennial schimmenial, right? Wrong! And not just because the guy writing this blog post happens to fall into that generational pigeon hole.

Per the Pew Research Center, millennial describes those “born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.” Comprised of more than 74 million people, it’s a generation poised to become the next set of leaders for our community, state and nation. Add to that that fact that this group of folks has officially surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, and you’ve got some serious staying power.

Why Round Rock though? According to the article, the study looked at several factors when determining where to rank each of the 500 cities reviewed, including employment benefits, expenses, future job growth potential, transportation costs and safety.

With our outstanding parks, growing downtown entertainment district, out-of-this world public safety team, top-notch schools and forward-thinking City leadership team, this ranking just makes sense for our community. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to live in Round Rock?

Here’s the top 20:



Top 16 accomplishments of 2016

2016 review bannerThe City of Round Rock had a pretty amazing run last year. And while you may think it’s a little late in the game for one of those look-back-at-the-best-of lists, we believe it’s perfect timing. Mostly because we’re gearing up for the City Council’s annual strategic planning retreat, and the look forward always starts with a look back.

Here are what we consider to be the best of the best 2016 had to offer in Round Rock:

  1. Kalahari Resorts announced in June its intention to build one of its family resorts, water park and convention centers in Round Rock. In December, the City Council approved a series of agreements that brought that vision closer to reality. This is big because the company will invest at least $350 million in the project, hire a minimum of 700 and add a significant new sector — the convention business — to the Round Rock economy.
  2. There was much rejoicing in Downtown Round Rock when we reached substantial completion on the realignment of Round Rock Avenue, Main Street and Mays Street. Why? Because it bigly (or big league?) improves traffic flow for motorists and safety for pedestrians in our one-of-a-kind, vibrant downtown.
  3. We refinanced four separate bond issues that will result in $927,000 in annual interest savings to the City. It was mostly utility bonds, so that’s nearly a million bucks a year that doesn’t have be repaid through your monthly water bills. For more details on budgetary matters, read this. For a high-level view (from about, say, the height your cat would see it if she was on top of the fridge), watch this.
  4. We opened two new fire stations, funding for which was approved by Round Rock voters in a 2013 bond election. The new stations are on the east side of town, and improve our emergency response times significantly. Shorter response times = better chance of surviving heart attack. What’s not to ♥?
  5. Speaking of fire, we hired a new chief, Robert Isbell, in December following a nationwide search. The entire command staff from the Midland Fire Department, his previous employer, made the five-hour drive from West Texas to pay their respects at his pinning ceremony. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about what kind of a leader he is, we’re not sure what will!
  6. The City broke ground on a Public Safety Training Facility in November. The $29 million facility will give our first responders a state-of-the-art training facility right here in Round Rock. Currently, our police and firefighters have to travel for advanced training, a big expense of time and money.
  7. We opened a major expansion of the Rock’N River water park this summer, and it made a big splash with residents — revenue was double what had been projected.
  8. Our Planning and Development Services Department lined up annexation agreements for more than 2,000 acres in northeast Round Rock. This is property currently outside the City limits. The agreements ensure orderly, compatible development as Round Rock continues to grow. You’ll thank us profusely in 15 years.
  9. While we’re talking growth, our inspection staff approved permits for more than $200 million worth of new commercial and residential development. They conducted 18,000 inspections — 90 percent within one day of being requested! These guys and gals deliver on the promise to Make It Happen.
  10. Speaking of growth, the Round Rock Economic Development Partnership delivered another winning deal in May, when United Parcel Service announced it was building a regional distribution center on SH 45. UPS will build a 100,000-square-foot facility worth $70 million and employ at least 314 at the site. The jobs will have an annual average salary of at least $50,000 a year.
  11. Technically, this didn’t happen until 2017. But 99 percent of the work on the Creek Bend Boulevard extension was completed in 2016, so it makes the list. Our Transportation staff will tell you this is one of those projects that is a real game changer, and, at just $9 million, a real bargain. We know, $9 million is a lot of money, but in transportation dollars, that’s relatively small potatoes. Or not, depending on your point of view.
  12. Last January, our Police held an outreach event with a local mosque. The event received nice coverage in the local media. What didn’t get coverage was news about a little note and flowers received by the mosque in November. We’d like to think the outreach event planted the seed that sprouted such lovely sentiments.
  13. While our Public Library continues to look for a new home in 2017, that didn’t stop it from booking some big wins in 2016. It made the switch to a new catalog system, all the while experiencing a record year for circulation — 1,080,312 items checked out — with a 39 percent increase in eBook checkouts.
  14. We’re gushing over how well our water conservation efforts performed last year. The 117 irrigation system audits, rebates for 235 efficient toilets and 28 efficient clothes dryers, and rainwater harvesting program will result in nearly 2 million gallons of water saved per year.
  15. No department sees more wins than our Sports Management and Tourism team. The Round Rock Sports Center produced $1.2 million in net income, and the Sports Capital of Texas hosted 55 tournaments and eventsdrawing 95,000 participants — that produced more than $10 million in direct economic activity.
  16. Last on the list but first in our hearts was the Lost Teddy Alert. When we discovered a lost teddy bear after one of Downtown Round Rock‘s family-friendly Music on Main concerts, we reached out via social media in an attempt to find its owner. You guys delivered. Little girl and lost teddy were reunited, and it felt so good. In fact, nothing felt better than that in 2016.

“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

That’s what the familiar face said to me and Brian Ligon, our ace multimedia specialist, as we were filming the latest Street Cred. We were at the corner of Wyoming Springs and the new Creek Bend Boulevard extension. I recognized the driver because she was a crossing guard at Cactus Ranch Elementary and Walsh Middle School for the six years my sons attended those schools.

And I knew exactly what she was talking about. Oh, the exquisite relief this little half-mile stretch of four lanes provides to folks on the west side.

Those who live west of IH 35 and north of Sam Bass Road have had limited options to access RM 620 — home to an H-E-B, Round Rock High, a hospital, doctor’s offices, etc. As we note in the Street Cred piece, if you live in Behren’s Ranch, Wood Glen, the Plantation, The Woods, Hidden Glen, Bent Tree, The Hermitage or Mira Vista, you’ve had to drive a ways, a mile or two or more, to get to Chisholm Trail or IH 35 to get south. And oh the joy that awaits you on IH 35 sound bound there. Or, you can take that funky zig zag route through the Great Oaks and Fern Bluff neighborhoods to get to RM 620.

It gets old. Real old. But no more.

I had my own special Creek Bend moment a couple of hours later. I was at Sunrise and Old Settlers Boulevard, and needed to get home, in the Oak Creek neighborhood (near St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center). Instead of taking the interstate to RM 620 and then getting to experience the joy of Round Rock High School letting out around 4:30, I simply drove over IH 35 and continued west on FM 3406 (which TxDOT recently finished improving — thanks, guys!), hung a left at Creek Bend (I even made the green light!) crossed over lovely (but expensive to build bridges over) Brushy Creek and was home in a snap. It felt like I saved at least 10 minutes in driving time.

It was, indeed, a beautiful day.

Round Rock ranked among top cities for recent graduates

Diploma? Check. Great job? Check. Perfect place to call home? Double check!

While we were pretty excited to hear that GoodCall named Round Rock one of the best cities in America (No. 14 to be exact) for recent graduates to locate, we couldn’t help but be a little disappointed that the ranking wasn’t in the form of an honorary degree or something. After all, we consider ourselves to be pretty darn intelligent. And, with our forward thinking leadership, dedication to smart growth and a top-notch knack for attracting great opportunities to help our community continue to grow and prosper, there’s clearly no limiting our potential.

According to the ranking, Round Rock’s relatively low cost-of-living combined with a solid median salary for those folks who hold a bachelor’s degree, helped us find our way to the top of the heap.

So, who else made the list? Here’s the top 20:

1.Roanoke, VA
2.Canton, OH
3.Fort Myers, FL
4.Irving, TX
5.Gastonia, NC
6.Mountain View, CA
7.Lansing, MI
8.Beaverton, OR
9.Dallas, TX
10.Cedar Rapids, IA
11.Santa Barbara, CA
12.New Braunfels, TX
13.Cincinnati, OH
14.Round Rock, TX
15.Wilmington, DE
16.Schaumburg, IL
17.Lakeland, FL
18.Layton, UT
19.Fort Smith, AR
20.Milpitas, CA


The full article, including methodology, can be found here:

Round Rock Fire Department spreads holiday cheer with good deed

We wanted to pass this along because, at this time of year especially, it’s amazing to see a local story about folks making the lives of others a little brighter.

Yesterday, the Round Rock Fire Department posted a message on Facebook about a good deed their staff did when answering a call about an elderly woman who had fallen. She was upset that she wouldn’t be able to set up her Christmas tree, so the responding crew took it upon themselves to clean up her living room and set up the tree before they left.

We are so proud of each and every man and woman who serves our community day-in and day-out. They are not only a vital component to keeping Round Rock safe, but also to making it a better place to live, work and play.

We feel truly blessed to call this place home. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, y’all!

Get your shine on this holiday season with these great local light displays

If you’ve already taken in our jaw-dropingly-tinsel-tastic-out-of-this-world-can-you-believe-they-have-this-many-lights Rock’N Lights Holiday Tour this year, but your family is still looking for just a little more twinkle, check out this map of some of the coolest local displays from your very own Round Rock neighbors!

Best part, other than the fact that there are plenty of places to grab a hot chocolate before heading out for your local light cruise, of course? You can add others that you think are worthy of being on the list!!! Just click on over to this URL and email the moderator:

This holiday season, Shop the Rock — the gift that gives back to your community

shop the rock holiday logoWant better roads? How about better parks? Then be sure to Shop the Rock this holiday season.

Seriously, make sure you’re doing your gift purchasing in Round Rock. Those dollars spent locally help pay it forward and build our community. What makes this possible? Sales tax. Though it may be the least sexy tax, it is the hardest working one. So when you’re shopping this holiday season and see that tacky tie that dad just has to have, buy it. Your city will thank you.

This two-minute video explains power of shopping local, and how Round Rock’s got the hardest working sales tax in Texas.

Heartfelt note highlights amazing Round Rock community

You know those moments… the ones that tug at your heartstrings and make you proud to be a part of something, live in a certain area, or sometimes even just call yourself human? Yeah, us, too. They’re the stories that unite us, make us stronger and give us a positive, we-can-do-this-outlook on life and the challenges we face day in and day out. And when they happen close to home, they seem even more powerful in their ability to bring people together and enhance lives.

Recently, we came across such a story here in Round Rock – a simple note left from one set of neighbors to another expressing love, acceptance and general caring:

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a story like this come out of Round Rock and know it won’t be the last. Why? Because as a community, we strive to understand, celebrate and engage diversity to enhance our ability to work together and achieve greater success.


Officers Joseph Claypool (pictured) and Tim Chancellor talked about personal and school safety.

Another recent example comes straight from our City of Round Rock team, or as we like to refer to it, our family. If you’re not aware, the Round Rock Police and Round Rock Fire Departments are extremely dedicated to community outreach among various cultural groups and have, throughout the years, made a conscious effort to engage, collaborate and build relationships with all members of our community. In fact, in January of this year, public servants from each department partnered with the Islamic Community Center for a first-ever integration event. Members of the departments were able to provide public safety information, while also learning about the culture of attending residents, answering questions, holding one-on-one conversations with individuals and even sharing a traditional meal prepared by the hosts.

Staff also regularly attend Friendship International meetings and have partnered with several other local organizations to host similar engagement events.

We understand that together we’re stronger. Each and every day, we, your City government, strive to make our community a place that everyone can be proud to call home. And while certain stories, including those above, may be but a small blip in the larger conversation, we believe they’re meaningful and deserve recognition.

Thank you, Round Rock, for being so utterly amazing. It’s all of you out there that make this place everything that it is.

#RRProud #LoveThisCity #OneRoundRock

Round Rock takes moment to salute servicemembers on Veterans Day

Every day, we, as Americans, have the awesome opportunity to live life with a freedom not afforded to all across the globe. All too often, this blessing is overlooked and in many cases, taken for granted. Last Friday, Veterans Day, the people of Round Rock took a moment to thank the men and women who have sacrificed, through military service, so that we may all live free.

And from the Star Spangled Banner to the wreath ceremony, it’s hard to imagine that each person present didn’t leave with a heart filled with pride for our great nation.

If you missed the ceremony, take a look through a few photos below.

Oh, and don’t forget that with Veterans Park just a few blocks from Main Street in Downtown Round Rock, you can always take an afternoon stroll and pay your own respects at the memorial.

Round Rock named the No. 2 best city for families in Texas

From splish-splashin’ good times to seventh-inning hot dog runs, expansive park and trail system, hometown downtown and never-ending family-friendly event schedule, our community is no stranger to making memories and having fun. But that’s not the only reason Livability selected Round Rock as the runner-up, No. 2 best city for families in Texas – it’s also got a lot to do with our strong economy, relatively low cost of living and high availability of quality jobs close to home.

As they put it: “Located just 20 miles north of Austin, Round Rock blends small-town charm with big-city convenience. Unlike most metropolitan suburbs, Round Rock is self contained. The city is home to several major employers, including IKEA, IBM and Samsung. The international headquarters of tech giant Dell is here, as well as a number of small businesses around the city’s quaint, yet bustling, downtown – which means a short commute to work for most residents.”

Ok, so they gave us just a little, teensy, you-wouldn’t-have-even-noticed-if-we-didn’t-tell-you extra credit with IBM and Samsung considering those two employers are actually our next door neighbors and not technically within the City limits. But hey, they’re still right on track with the fact that our residents have the opportunity to live near many, many world-class employers, including the likes of Emerson and Sears Teleserv, both of which are smack dab in the middle of Round Rock.

And how could we be considered a go-to destination for folks to raise a family without stellar schools? We absolutely love having the Round Rock Independent School District right at home here in our community. And no, not just because the Friday night lights shine bright on a few of the football teams, although we sure don’t mind grabbing our cap and watching the hometown boys take the field every now and again. According to the article, “the district also scores high marks for its academics, receiving a grade of 8 out of 10 by” Passionate educators, innovative administration – that’s what we’re talking about!

So, whether you and your family already live in Round Rock or you’re thinking about making the move to this great community… Welcome home, we couldn’t be happier to have you!

Read the full article and see what other cities made the cut here: