10 ways to enjoy the arts in Round Rock this summer!

Free arts and cultural events in July! The arts are happening everywhere in Round Rock this summer, and with this list, you’re sure not to miss a second of the action!

1. Take an early morning or evening stroll through the thirty-plus art sculptures located at Prete Plaza, Downtown, Centennial Plaza and Chisholm Crossing. Brochures are available at ArtSpace or at City Hall front desk.

art collage

2. Have dinner in Downtown Round Rock and then go see the Penfold Theatre presentation of Shakespeare’s COMEDY OF ERRORS at Centennial Plaza’s Amphitheater. This under-the-stars theater event takes place Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. the entire month of July!

play collage

3. Wander over to Memorial Park and the Sam Bass Community Theatre presentation of INTO THE WOODS AND SWEENEY TODD, Junior Editions. Join the fun on Thursday, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 p.m. Details: http://bit.ly/SamBassTheatre

sam bass memorial play summer

4. Beat the heat and stay inside while taking in some big art! Round Rock Arts presents The Big Show art exhibition that is now on display through August 25 at Texas State University Round Rock Campus, 1555 University in Round Rock.

big show

5. Find The Little Show at ArtSpace, downtown’s art gallery at 231 East Main, Suite 160, in Round Rock. ArtSpace celebrates in conjunction with THE BIG SHOW of their own exhibit called THE LITTLE SHOW for the month of July.

little show collage

6. Round Rock Public Library has an art gallery! When picking out your favorite book to read for their summer reading program, stop by the art gallery and view the current art exhibit. 

read get set

7. Art using Alcohol Ink at the Williamson County Jester Annex, another free art exhibition of wonderful artists works. Just because you’re not renewing your car registration doesn’t mean you can’t check out this great little exhibit! Check it out at 1801 Old Settlers Boulevard in Round Rock.

alc ink collage

8. Visit the Palm House Museum (beside the Round Rock Public Library) at 212 East Main in Round Rock for a little art history! The Palm House, the oldest building on Main Street, was moved to this location in 1976 from the Palm Valley area. The house is a well-preserved example of an early frontier building style: a central door and entry passage with one roughly square room on either side. The porch runs the length of the house and the roof is steeply pitched.  This historic house displays two furnished rooms of the 1873 home of Swedish immigrant Andrew Palm. The house was moved here from the Swedish Palm Valley settlement east of town.

palm house collage

9. If you’re still strolling, walk by the Nelson-Crier House (Woodbine Mansion) located at 405 E. Main Street in Round Rock. It was built 1895-1900 and remodeled 1931. This house is probably the most interesting house in Round Rock. The building originally was in a Queen Anne style with a three-story turret at the northeast corner, but was later remodeled to a neoclassical style with an Ionic-columned porch. The foundation of the turret remains as a large patio.

nelson house collage

10. Finally, for a little history and culture: Visit the Round Rock Cemetery.  Established in the early 1850s in what is now known as Old Round Rock, this cemetery is the burial ground of many area pioneers and outstanding Round Rock citizens. The oldest legible tombstone, which marks the burial site of 11-year-old Angeline Scott, bears the year 1851, although there are many unmarked graves that could date from before that time.

cemetary collage


Round Rock named one of the best cities for Texas families

Photo Credit: Rock Studios

From great parks to out-of-this-world events to that hometown feeling you just don’t get everywhere you go, it’s no wonder Wallet Hub ranked Round Rock as one of the best cities in Texas to raise a family. Twenty-third best to be exact.

Sure, we’re not number one, but that doesn’t mean this ranking isn’t still exciting. It means we’re doing the right things but we’ve still got room to improve. We like that! After all, we’re the type of community that isn’t pretentious, holds true to its roots, takes time to make the best decisions for residents and is always working to make our future even better than our past. And because of all that, we’re confident the road to greater success is wide and open here in Round Rock – a place where folks can raise a family, enjoy an afternoon in nature and head out for a little nightlife to cap off a wonderful weekend.

We think our hometown is pretty darn great and we’re ecstatic others think so, too, but enough with all our preaching. You get the idea… Round Rock, rocks!

So, how’d the data folks at Wallet Hub come up with this ranking? Well, they compared 112 of the largest cities in Texas based on twenty-one relevant metrics that speak to their suitability for families of all types, including measures such as the number of playgrounds per capita, the violent crime rate and the divorce rate.

Still interested in more details? Chompin’ at the bit to see the full ranking? You can find it all right here: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-to-live-in-texas/22419/#main-findings

Top four reasons to Stop the Pop

fireworks infographicEach July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.

Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks — devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death… just a few of the many reasons they’re illegal to possess or use here in Round Rock!

The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by National Fire Protection Association, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.

Here are four facts to consider before you light up:

  1. From 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires. An estimated two people were killed in these fires.
  2. In 2014, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51 percent of those injuries were to the extremities and 38 percent were to the head.
  3. The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 5-9, followed by children 10-19.
  4. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on July 4th. Almost half (47 percent) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

And if you think you can find a City nearby where it’s legal to shoot fireworks, think again. Check out the video below.

Join us for a Trailgating Party in celebration of National Trails Day!

Walk.Ride.PlayWe’ve all seen pictures, and many of us experienced, the fun of tailgating before our favorite sports team takes the field. Food, friends and fun is what it’s all about!

This Saturday, June 4 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Freeman Park (301 Forest Ridge Blvd.), we’re bringing a little slice of that game day experience to Round Rock with a Trailgating Party to celebrate National Trails Day. No, there won’t be touchdowns or 2-point conversions, but we’ll have plenty of food and fun for the whole family!

From free t-shirts and water bottles to delicious food, great games and even a few awesome giveaways, this is the perfect way to get outside and start your family’s weekend off right!

This event is also the start of our two month Trails Challenge, a self-guided tour of the Round Rock trail system that you can complete on your own schedule. Get it done by August 31 and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!

Also, don’t forget to download our mobile app, which has a built-in trail finder! Perfect to get you moving toward discovering nature right at home here in Round Rock!

trails post collage

Do you have what it takes to be a Round Rock Firefighter?



A room is rapidly filling with gray smoke. No lights. Just smoke and darkness. Now imagine that there’s a little girl and boy in another room on the opposite side of the house. Flames are building. You and your team are the only thing between those kids and a heart-wrenching situation.

You’re guiding a swift water rescue boat toward a vehicle that’s been swept from a low-water crossing. Water is rising. Debris is blocking your path. You see the car – there’s a family inside. They’re screaming for help, but don’t know what to do. You and your team are the only thing between that family and a horrific outcome.

These two scenarios are just a glimpse into the situations our firefighters must be prepared for on a daily basis.

Are you ready to help protect our community and save lives? Can you handle the pressure?

If you think you’ve got what it takes, you’re in luck. The Round Rock Fire Department is accepting applications for new firefighters from June 6 through July 15 and will hold a written examination on July 30.

Information on pay, benefits and minimum requirements below:

Pay and Benefits:

  • Base Firefighter Pay = $47,205.08
  • Annual Pay Increases
  • Paramedic Incentive Pay
  • Education Incentive Pay
  • TMRS Retirement Plan

Minimum Requirements:

  • Must be at least 19 and under 36 years of age
  • Must be a Texas Commission on Fire Protection Certified Firefighter and a Texas Department of State Health Services Certified EMT or be currently enrolled in a commission approved academy and TDH approved EMT class.
  • Must posses, or have the ability to obtain, a valid Texas drivers’ license

Need more information? Call us at 512-218-7035 or email psanchez@roundrocktexas.gov

fire collage

The library is a family place

Michelle Cervantes, our Round Rock Library Director, pens a monthly column for the Round Rock Leader. This is a repost of her most recent feature.

Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child?” I believe this to be true, and even more so in this day and age.

Growing up, I lived in the same house with my maternal grandparents. When we moved to our own house, it was in the same neighborhood just a few houses down the street. My grandparents and extended family all lived in the same city. Both parents worked full-time and my grandparents would watch all the grandkids while our parents were at work.

That’s not the case for most families nowadays, but I do see a growing trend of more and more grandparents following their grandkids to Central Texas. With or without your extended family nearby, I hear that parenting — along with the Peace Corps — is the toughest job you will ever love.


Round Rock Public Library Director Michelle Cervantes

In the April 2016 edition of Austin Family Magazine, the Center for Child Protection writes:

“Every parent has times when they reach the end of their patience. Being a parent or caregiver is not easy, so it’s important to also take care of yourself so you can provide consistency for your child. Stress can cause a parent to respond too harshly to negative behaviors or simply ignore the behaviors because they’re too tired and overwhelmed to respond.”

Parents: don’t stress out! The Round Rock Public Library has resources for you. Not only do we have books, DVDs and magazines, but we also provide a place where you can meet and talk to other parents and caregivers going through the same experiences.

Making those connections is crucial to building a strong community. We see this happen after story time when parents, grandparents and caregivers start talking to one another. The library is one of the first places where many parents make new friends after they move to Round Rock.

We are excited to announce that we are becoming a “Family Place Library.” We were among 36 Texas libraries to be awarded a Family Place Libraries grant. This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Family Place Libraries promotes a national model for transforming public libraries into welcoming, developmentally appropriate early-learning environments for very young children, their parents and caregivers. Based on research about the importance of early brain development, the Family Place Library supports the essential role of parents as first teachers and addresses the physical, social, emotional and cognitive aspects of child development to help build a foundation for learning during the critical first years of life.

By partnering and working with other social, health and educational services providers, the Family Place model positions libraries as key early childhood and family support organizations within the local community.

Soon, a small corner of the library will transform into a hands-on activity area and you will be able to register for parenting classes. A new parenting collection will also be available downstairs in the children’s area.

With the Family Place Libraries designation, we hope to share in the success that other libraries around the country have garnered. We want our library to be a popular community hub for our families and provide them with resources they need to raise amazing kids.

Of course, we’ll still have books available. Two of my favorites: “Olivia” by Ian Falconer and “Redwall” by Brian Jacques.

8 amazing facts about our Tool Lending Center

In the two years the City’s Tool Lending Center (TLC) has been in operation, we have:

  • Deployed the TLC 41 times
  • Checked out 1,606 tools
  • Removed 268 tons of garbage (not including brush)
  • Serviced 117 homes of those in need
  • 1,368 volunteers donate 5,369 hours of service
  • Volunteers have invested $123,862 worth of time and labor into projects in Round Rock*
  • Received a national award from Neighborhoods USA
  • Been successfully replicated by the City of Temple, Texas

Interested in some TLC for your volunteer project? Contact Joe Brehm at 512-341-3148.

Emergencies happen in a flash – Be prepared!

Emergency preparation supplies are tax free April 23-25

Emergencies happen in a flash! Thankfully for us, the Round Rock Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is ready for just about any situation and prepared to activate operations at a moments notice. Before, during and after a major emergency or disaster, this team works extremely hard to help keep you and our community safe during crisis.

Imagine a flurry of storms hits the area and very heavy rainfall is concentrated over Round Rock for multiple days. Or old man winter blows in freezing temperatures at the same time good ol’ El Nino decides it’s time to precipitate. Roads are icy and travel is treacherous. Or maybe we experience an incredible dry spell and one small spark creates an out-of-control wildfire. Homes and lives are in danger.

These situations sound familiar, don’t they? In any given year, we might experience all of these types of emergencies multiple times. In fact, over the past two years, our Emergency Management Division has activated crisis operations on more than eight separate occasions!

In addition to activating emergency operations and keeping our community safe in disaster, our Emergency Management staff are dedicated to communicating important safety and preparedness messages. Take the lightning safety video below as an example. It’s been viewed more than 3,000 times and will be distributed regionally for promotion before and during storms!

Speaking of preparedness, thousands of people have registered to receive mobile alerts about emergency situations from www.warncentraltexas.com! Have you?

And now that you’re set to receive emergency notifications, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared to keep your family safe during a crisis – and boy are you in luck! This weekend, all emergency preparedness supplies can be purchased tax free… ‘Tis the season to stock up, y’all!

Details about the tax-free weekend, including a list of items included, can be found here: http://comptroller.texas.gov/about/media-center/news/2016/160413-holiday.php

Imagine 2016 by the numbers (and winners, too)

We celebrated Imagine 2016 on Feb. 27. From the get-go, it has been one of our favorite annual events in Round Rock. As the brief video above shows, there are more amazing artists in our community than you would probably, well, Imagine.

Here’s a look at the event, by the numbers:

  • 5,925 — dollars awarded to the winning artists
  • 323 — pieces of art entered for exhibit
  • 112 — pieces of art selected for exhibit
    • 62 paintings
    • 37 photographs
    • 10 3-D art
    • 3 fiber art
  • 1,000 — people who attended the opening night reception
  • 5,000 — people who are expected to view the exhibit, at Texas State University’s Avery Building, through June 3

As promised, here are the winners:

Public wifi by the numbers


RRTX WiFi, the city’s free, high-speed wireless service, continues to grow. And, boy howdy, is it popular.

In 2015, more than 21 terabytes of data were downloaded by folks using the service at one of the now seven locations where it is available.

Here are some more fun facts about the service:

  • Residents and visitor spent 1,392,386 hours on RRTX WiFi in fiscal 2015.
  • The two most heavily utilized sites are the Library and Round Rock Sports Center
  • August was the busiest month last fiscal year, with 2.3 terabytes of data use
  • The funniest fact of all: We don’t have to pay more to offer the service — the public use is heaviest nights and weekends, when our need to utilize internet access for City business is low

We offer the service at the following locations:

In the near future, we’ll be adding the service at Lake Creek Pool, the Round Rock Dog Depot and Rock’N River Family Aquatic Center.