BLANCO, Texas – The Gem of the Hills Activity Center will renovate its restrooms and make them ADA-compliant thanks to a grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
The $22,500 Community Development Partnership Program grant, combined with $12,000 in matching funds, will help make the facility easier for members of the community to use for meetings and other events. The center also provides fitness and wellness activities, and other recreational programs.
“We have not really had many opportunities to make improvements since it was built,” said Connie Barron, Gem of the Hills Board of Directors president. “We want to make sure the facilities we have here are welcoming to everyone. We want to make it more attractive, more appealing and more inviting.”
Restrooms that accommodate everyone are especially important because many of the people who use the center are seniors, Barron said.
Barron added that because the center keeps its fees low and doesn’t receive government funding, renting out the meeting spaces helps keep the facility running. With these upgraded restrooms, Gem of the Hills will become a more appealing rental option, and that can help the group fulfill its mission of being a premier community gathering spot, she said.
“We’re really trying very hard to get to a point where people say, ‘Hey, what’s going on at Gem of the Hills this month?’” Barron said. “We need updates and some modernization to help with that.”
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available at
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit