LCRA awards City of Wharton $50,000 grant for civic center renovations
New retractable wall, flooring will allow for more, bigger events
Nov. 10, 2021
WHARTON, Texas – A grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the City of Wharton renovate the Wharton Civic Center, expanding the kinds of events that can be held there and allowing the facility to host groups of up to 700 people.
The $50,000 Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $30,415 in matching funds, means the use of space at the civic center can be optimized, benefiting the many community groups that use the facility and helping to attract additional events and visitors.
As the only civic center in the area, the facility hosts a variety of events, conferences and educational gatherings, said Wharton Community Development Director Gwyneth Teves. It also houses the Wharton Emergency Medical Services department, the Office of Emergency Management and the Wharton Economic Development Corporation.
The project will remove the current wall between two gathering rooms and install a retractable wall in its place so the rooms can be split if needed. New flooring also will be installed.
“Once the renovations are complete, that space will be perfect for meetings, baby showers, bridal showers and other events,” Teves said. “This renovation will benefit members in the community by offering more adequate accommodations for smaller events or meetings.”
Additionally, the Wharton Independent School District, Wharton County Junior College and other groups such as Head Start use the center for events including job fairs, educator training, orientations, benefits and galas.
This grant is especially important now because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortfall in hotel and motel tax revenue, which typically goes toward the maintenance and repairs of the center, Teves said.
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the large variety and frequency of events held at the civic center make it clear how important it is to the community.
“Many different people and groups benefit from the Wharton Civic Center day in and day out,” Wilson said. “We’re lucky to have places like this in our communities, where people can gather, learn and celebrate. With these changes, the center will be able to attract larger groups, and many of those visitors will do business at area restaurants and hotels. LCRA is proud to contribute to these improvements, which will benefit the area for years to come.”
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 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.