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:

Architect: A black box theater at Baca Center just won’t work

A black box theater at the Baca Center is a no go.

The architect hired to determine the feasibility of placing a small theater in the Grand Room of the Allen R. Baca Center for Senior and Community Affairs stated in a letter the facility “is inadequate to provide a professional level quality black box theater.”

Kirk Johnson of Corgan studied three options for a black box at Baca:

  • Placing a black box in the Grand Room at the Baca Center
  • Option 1, plus adding dressing rooms, makeup counters, a green room, technical booth areas, etc.
  • Building a black box theater at the loading dock area of the Baca Center

None of the options were feasible, when looking at 12 criteria examined by Corgan.

“The Baca Center functions well as a community center but has significant spatial, logistical and operational challenges as facility for a professional black box theater,” Johnson stated in a Sept. 29 letter to the City.

We first shared the exciting possibility of a black box in downtown in this Jan. 15, 2016, Quarry post.

The City will continue to look at options for a location for a black box theater, Arts and Culture Director Scot Wilkinson said.

“While we’re disappointed this option isn’t feasible, because it could have been completed relatively quickly and cost effectively, we are moving on,” Wilkinson said. “There are other possibilities we are now pursuing that are very promising. We need a performing arts venue in Round Rock.”

Too cool for school

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.

Michelle Cervantes Library Director

Michelle Cervantes
Library Director

The past few months have been heated. Not just due to the hot weather, but because of politics, racism, strife, culture clash and loss.

Let’s get back on track and focus on something cool, like back to school.

Yes, you heard me right. I said school is cool. I learned this fact late in life, and I believe if I had known that back in the day, then my life would have been a whole lot easier.

Are you too cool for school? Well, we have options for you that offer non-traditional learning opportunities. Learning goes beyond a classroom and continuous improvement goes hand-in-hand with success. You should not stop learning or seeking knowledge just because you receive a diploma.

The first step is getting a library card. September is officially Library Card Sign-Up Month. All you need to do is bring your valid Texas issued identification with a current address, and we can set you up in a few minutes. Your library membership provides you with access to more than 180,000 items and 92 online digital resources.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is launching two new databases (online digital resources) this month. Soon you will be able to log into Pronunciator and Flipster.

Pronunciator teaches practical language skills through listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and culture. Courses for 80 languages are available, with up to 22 months of guided instruction per language. Pronunciator also provides citizenship preparation courses in English and Spanish with all these features available for Apple, Android and Kindle Fire devices.

Flipster is the next-generation digital magazine providing libraries with access to magazines in a digital format. We currently subscribe to Mango Languages and Zinio magazines and look forward to comparing them to Pronunciator and Flipster. Let us know what you think.

Along with the thousands of items we have available for continuing education, we also host a variety of free classes. This week we have a small business workshop, A+ certification course, English-as-a-Second-Language classes, health and wellness class and financial literacy workshop. Visit our web calendar for complete details:

How big a slice of your pie do City taxes take?

Our finance folks have put together a great infographic to answer that question.

Avg Household Monthly Expenses

We think this chart offers some nice perspective. So while the owner of an average value home will see their City taxes go up by a little over $6 a month (check out this helpful Budget Highlights document for details), we think we deliver good value for your dollar.

The City Council will make its second and final reading vote on the budget and tax rate at its Thursday, Sep. 8, meeting.

For a high-level look at the budget, we think this video might CATch your fancy. (Ahem.)

Great quality of life? Yep, Round Rock’s got you covered!

Quality of Life RRTX Web

When your community is filled with family-friendly fun, delicious dining, destination shopping, exciting sports, great neighborhoods, impeccable parks, A+ schools and so, so much more, it’s not too surprising to see it end up on all sorts of great rankings.

And although we aren’t surprised, we’re still a little giddy to see Round Rock listed as one of Business Insider’s top 25 cities with the best quality of life in the US.

Coming in at No. 10, and edging out our high-profile neighbor to the south (hint: “Live Music Capital of the World”), Round Rock is one of two Texas cities to crack the top ten and one of seven to make the list. Others Texans include Denton (25), The Woodlands (24), Irving (21), Richardson (19), Austin (18) and Plano (3).

Here are the top 10:

  1. Bellevue, Washington
  2. Alexandria, Virginia
  3. Plano, Texas
  4. Overland Park, Kansas
  5. Sunnyvale, California
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Naperville, Illinois
  8. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  9. Fort Collins, Colorado
  10. Round Rock, Texas

So, how’d Business Insider come up with these high-falutin rankings anyway? Well, they compiled data collected by Niche for their latest Places to Live rankings, including “Safest Cities,” “Cities with the Best Job Opportunities,” “Healthiest Cities,” and “Best Cities to Raise a Family.” You can read the full methodology here.

And if all that’s not enough, or if you’ve just been hiding under a rock (potentially the one we’re named after) for the past few months, we compiled a gallery listing a few more accolades Round Rock has recently received: