LCRA awards $50,000 grant for improvements at popular community park in Menard
American Legion Park to get new irrigation system, updated fencing and more trees
Dec. 2, 2022
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $60,000 in matching funds from the county, will allow Menard County to add a new irrigation system at American Legion Park, which is adjacent to the courthouse. The project also calls for planting additional trees at the park, increasing beautification efforts and replacing a deteriorating chain-link fence around the park’s pool.
Menard County Judge Brandon Corbin said the new decorative iron fence will reduce safety concerns regarding the pool and the possibility of young children gaining unauthorized access to it. The park also includes a perimeter sidewalk, and plans call for adding distance markers there to promote outdoor exercise.
“As you open the main door to the courthouse, you step out into this park,” Corbin said, noting that the courthouse is the only building between the park and Menard’s elementary and junior high schools. “In this community, there are very few spots that are as high-traffic.”
The new irrigation system will replace an inoperative 120-year-old irrigation ditch, and its addition will be a keystone to improving the park. With the new irrigation system in place, the county will be able to stabilize existing trees and replace others, including native pecans, that have died.
“We are planning to have a blend of native trees and some other ones that are nice to have because you don’t see them very often in this part of the state, the northwest corner of the Texas Hill Country,” Corbin said.
The park includes juniper, cypress and magnolia trees that are struggling without an adequate supply of water.
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said LCRA is proud to help revitalize American Legion Park, which is both a central gathering spot for Menard County residents and a source of civic pride.
“Residents here understand both the communal and historical importance of this courthouse square, and LCRA is so proud to contribute to this project and support the Menard community,” Wilson said. “These improvements will help ensure that American Legion Park continues to welcome both local residents and out-of-town visitors for years to come.”
At the south end of the park, visitors can find the 90-year-old, art deco-style courthouse, which features stepped massing, cast stone detailing, medallions, shields and casement windows. A state historical marker noted that Mayan influences are seen on the fluted pilasters and inset panels.
Corbin said upgrades to the park will help spur economic development in Menard, noting that a wedding venue recently opened in a historic building adjacent to the park. For the past two years, the park has been the site of a successful farmers market that operates every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park, which is dedicated to U.S. veterans, also is at the center of Menard County’s annual Veterans Day celebration.
“To watch the park slowly deteriorate has been heartbreaking,” Corbin said. “To have LCRA step in and give us this support, well, I think it is going to be greatly appreciated by the people here.”
The community grant is one of 46 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 lcra.org/cdpp.
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.