Williams Drive businesses celebrate end of gas leak evacuation with grand re-opening

It's been months since homes and businesses in Georgetown were evacuated due to a gas leak.

Now that those evacuations are no longer in effect, residents celebrated the reopening of dozens of businesses along Williams Drive, a welcome relief from the heat and a welcome relief from a four-month long exile from their businesses. 

On Saturday, dozens of business owners and community members celebrated the grand re-opening for businesses in the area that were affected by the gas leak.

"Customers are coming back they are happy that I finally opened up and their spreading the word as a matter of fact they came to this event," Barbara Barbosa said.

Barbosa, who owns Barbosa Shoe and Boot Repair on Williams Drive, says she was forced to evacuate her business for nearly two months and says customers haven't exactly poured in the way she thought they would when the store reopened.

"Barely picking up now, it’s like you’re starting from the bottom up with a new business,” said Barbosa. 

In late February a natural gas leak was detected, which led Atmos Energy to issue evacuation orders for homes and businesses in the area.   

The company repaired the initial gas leak from a plastic pipe on February 21, but continued working for more than nine weeks on releasing gas trapped in the soil.

"Safety of our customers our residents our community is always our top priority,” said Randy Hartford, a spokesperson for Atmos Energy. 

The evacuation order was gradually lifted for some beginning in late March.

"People were frustrated because they're out of their homes out of their businesses overall I have to say they were understanding,” said Hartford. 

Crestview Baptist Church Associate Pastor Robert Stephens says they had to move their congregation to another location until they were given the all-clear to return. 

He says despite the evacuation there was a positive gained from the situation.

"The situation allowed us to move out of our comfort zone, move more into the community," Stephens said. "We learned about our community and the process and it ended up being a positive experience for us not knowing it at the time."

Barbosa hopes the event will boost business in the area.  

"With faith everything will work out,” said Barbosa. 

Atmos now has an office nearby so they can help people who were impacted by the evacuations.