LCRA awards $16,696 grant for new lighting for community center in Panna Maria - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community LCRA awards $16,696 grant for new lighting for community center in Panna Maria - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community

LCRA awards $16,696 grant for new lighting for community center in Panna Maria

Visitors to Panna Maria School won’t have to use flashlights to find their way to evening meetings anymore

Nov. 4, 2021

An LCRA representative presents a $16,696 grant to the Panna Maria Historical Society for new lighting at Panna Maria School, a meeting venue that frequently hosts family meetings, community events and more. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are Sheila Slagel, LCRA grants program manager, and Joyce Rives, Panna Maria Historical Society president.

KARNES COUNTY, Texas – A $16,696 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will provide new lighting at the Panna Maria School, which was built in 1959 and now is home to a popular meeting venue.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $5,700 in matching funds, will help the Panna Maria Historical Society replace inoperable outdoor lighting and provide new energy efficient light bulbs for indoor and outdoor use at the center.

“The school was donated to us by the Karnes City Independent School District in 2008,” said Joyce Rives, president of the Panna Maria Historical Society. “The lighting hasn’t been updated for at least 10 years since it became an activity center. There are currently no working outdoor lights.”

The Panna Maria Historical Society shares the history and culture of Panna Maria, the oldest Polish settlement in the United States, through preservation and education. Rives said she anticipates the building will see more traffic when a new Polish Heritage Center opens nearby.

“Visitors from all over the world come to Panna Maria to see artifacts of cultural significance that don’t exist in Poland,” Rives said. “The grant will help us enhance the appearance of the building, as well as provide visitors with accessibility to the building in the evenings and at night. Currently, visitors use flashlights to walk to and from their vehicles. It can be really dangerous.”

The school is used frequently for gatherings such as family events, community meetings and school tours.

The community grant is one of 32 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission 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 in January. More information is available at

About LCRA
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 fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit

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