Georgetown Texas Government

Memorial Brick Program

The Georgetown City Council during its Feb. 8, 2022, workshop directed staff to end the City of Georgetown’s involvement in the memorial brick program; to remove the bricks and return them to the Williamson County Historical Commission; and to restore the four corners around the Williamson County Courthouse Square with bricks to resemble other sidewalks around the Square.

Watch the Feb. 8, 2022, council workshop discussion | Read the council meeting attachments

Background
For more than a decade, the City of Georgetown installed memorial bricks in the four corners around the Williamson County Courthouse through an informal partnership with the Williamson County Historical Commission (WCHC), which operates the program. The City’s only role was to install the bricks when contacted to do so.

The City initially suspended additional brick installations in June 2021, after we received concerns about the program and discovered we did not have a formal agreement with the WCHC. While we appreciate the partnership with the WCHC and the work it does to preserve Williamson County’s history, the City requested the WCHC develop a formal agreement that specified roles and responsibilities.

City staff presented that agreement and options to the Georgetown City Council for direction on Feb. 8, 2022. The workshop presentation detailed WCHC’s draft agreement and asked council to determine whether the program was going to continue, and, if so, whether council wanted to make any changes the draft agreement. Council directed staff to end the City’s involvement in the program; to remove and return the brick to the WCHC; and to restore the four corners of the Square with bricks that resemble other areas of downtown.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s going to happen to the existing memorial bricks?
Council directed staff to remove the existing memorial bricks around the four corners of the Williamson County Courthouse and return them to the Williamson County Historical Commission.

How many memorial bricks were there?
The Williamson County Historical Commission estimated the four corners of the Courthouse Square had more than 200 memorial bricks.

When did the City of Georgetown start installing bricks around the Courthouse?
We haven’t been able to identify a specific date when the program started, but our understanding is that it had been in place more than a decade before the City’s involvement in the program ended.

Where on the sidewalk around the Courthouse are the memorial bricks installed?
The City installed the bricks only on the four corners of the Square, because these areas are City property. Williamson County has jurisdiction over the sidewalk immediately around the historic Courthouse.

Were only bricks of a certain size approved by the city? Some appear to be larger than others.
The City did not have a formal agreement with the Williamson County Historical Commission. The City wasn’t involved in any approvals or review of the bricks. City public works crews just installed the bricks when contacted by the WCHC.

Does the City receive any compensation for installing the bricks?
No, the City did not receive compensation for installing the bricks. In past years, we installed one or two batches of about a dozen each. Crews estimate each batch took one person less than an hour to perform the work – so installation took one person fewer than two hours per year.

The Williamson County Historical Commission indicated the memorial brick program was a primary source of revenue. The WCHC said the funds from the program helped pay for many of the organization’s services, including maintaining and reviving the more than 240 cemeteries in Williamson County.

How did the Williamson County Historical Commission spend the money it received for the memorial bricks?
The WCHC indicated the memorial brick program was a primary source of revenue and helped pay for many of the organization’s services, including maintaining and reviving the more than 240 cemeteries in Williamson County.

People have expressed concerns about the bricks honoring the Confederacy, particularly due to its proximity to the controversial Confederate statue on the Square. Does the City have a response to this?
Those concerns are fair, and given the recent criticism and concerns about the program, we suspended additional installations until we received council’s direction to end the City’s involvement in the program in February.

The memorial brick program has been around for more than a decade. Upon further review, we realized the City didn’t have a formal agreement with the WCHC for the program. While we appreciate the partnership with the WCHC and the work it does to preserve Williamson County’s history, the City requested the WCHC develop a formal agreement that specified roles and responsibilities.

We presented that agreement and options to City Council for direction in February 2022, at which time the council directed staff to end the City’s involvement in the program; to remove and return the brick to the WCHC; and to restore the four corners of the Square with bricks that resemble other areas of downtown.

Does the Georgetown City Council have any power to approve removal of any of the memorial bricks on the city’s sidewalk around the square?
The City did not have a formal agreement with the WCHC and were not in any way involved in reviewing or approving the pavers. However, the City does have authority over City property, including in our rights of way. City staff developed options for the City Council to consider, which included a formal agreement with WCHC and options for addressing the existing bricks. Council directed staff to end the City’s involvement in the memorial brick program; to remove and return the brick to the WCHC; and to restore the four corners of the Square with bricks that resemble other areas of downtown.

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