Aging, sun-worn and sometimes-dangerous playground equipment at three parks in Smithville will be replaced, thanks to a $22,999 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $7,440 in matching contributions, will allow the city to replace playscapes at Railroad, MLK and Vernon Richards Riverbend parks and add amenities to encourage childrens’ interest in reading, music and education. The new playscapes also will include sections with equipment that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act to make the playgrounds accessible to all children.
“This grant was needed because the current playground equipment is falling apart and has become dangerous for children,” said Leah Saunders, a volunteer and parent instrumental in bringing together the ideas for the musical equipment and reading path. “Without this funding, we would be unable to replace this equipment for quite some time, as we are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.”
A “reading route” will be installed at Riverbend Park to encourage children to read. The innovative display will include a series of short pedestals with pages from books that children will follow to finish the story. The stories will be in English and Spanish and complement the city’s library programming for children. Musical equipment and educational plaques also will be installed at each park.
“The cost to repair or replace this equipment is expensive and we are grateful for LCRA’s generosity,” said Smithville City Manager Robert Tamble. “The city is fortunate to have LCRA as a conscientious corporate partner committed to enhancing the quality of life through water stewardship, energy and community service.”
The parks are the most popular in Smithville and are frequented by families from Bastrop and Fayette counties.
"This grant is a blessing throughout the community - one that will be enjoyed by so many for a very long time,” said Scott Saunders, mayor of Smithville.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program 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.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted Jan. 1-31, 2019. 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 access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the 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