LCRA awards $24,168 grant for improvements at Columbus library
Renovations to 1970s-era kitchenette will add to amenities in updated community room
April 28, 2022
COLUMBUS, Texas – A $24,168 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help pay for renovations to a decades-old kitchenette within a much-used community room at the Nesbitt Memorial Library.lcra.org/cdpp.The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with matching funds of $16,111 from the Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation and the Catherine Dumraese Trust, will allow the municipal library to refresh the kitchenette and make it more functional for patrons and community groups. The project calls for replacing the original sink and fixture, countertops, and cabinets that date back to the library’s opening in 1978, as well as installing an apartment-sized refrigerator that includes a freezer. “Right now, we have an encrusted bar-style sink and water barely drips out of the faucet,” said Tracey Wegenhoft, secretary for the foundation, which provides financial and volunteer support to the Nesbitt Library. “It’s something that really limits our use.” The new refrigerator will replace a small, dorm-style fridge, and a microwave mounted under a cabinet will take the place of a small, outdated stove, freeing up much-needed counter space. A dishwasher will be added, too. “We realized that we have a virtually non-functioning kitchen in our meeting room,’” Wegenhoft said. “It’s been limping along for a while, but it’s finally on its last leg. A lot of organizations need a serviceable kitchen for their events, and with the new renovations, I think we’ll attract more people and programs.” The CDPP grant also will pay for new shelves and cabinets in an audio-visual equipment room that’s adjacent to the kitchenette. Those changes will make it easier for community organizations and library staff to offer engaging presentations, especially for adults and children who participate in a variety of literacy and STEM activities. Finally, the library will use a portion of the grant to buy and install bullnose tile to support and protect a meeting room mural that depicts the Colorado River and nature found along its shores. “It’s such a beautiful work of art that we are immensely proud of,” Wegenhoft said. “We really need to get it secured.” The Nesbitt Memorial Library, which expanded to about 9,300 square feet in 1987, has approximately 30,000 items in its collection. In the past four years, Library Director Susan Chandler said, a mix of grants, donations and city funding has paid for new carpeting, shelving, lighting and paint for the facility, along with a new roof and fire-protection system. The library also added new collapsible shelving to the archives, which include photographs and documents related to Columbus and Colorado County. Now, with the CDPP grant from LCRA, a new improvement project is on tap for Chandler, who said she and Wegenhoft “walked on air for days” after learning of the grant. “Our community loves our library,” Chandler said. “Since 2018, we have been slowly updating one project at a time. Now it’s beginning to look like a brand-new library.” The community grant is one of 36 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 July. 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 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 lcra.org.