LCRA, Bandera Electric Co-op award $16,800 grant to Comfort Public Library
New roof will help protect the library’s collection, preserve historic downtown building
Nov. 16, 2021
COMFORT, Texas – A $16,800 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative will allow the Comfort Public Library to replace the leaky roof atop its historic building and safeguard its growing collection.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, paired with matching funds of $4,200, will pay for a new roof and water-resistant insulation. Scuppers also will be added to the roof to collect rainwater for use in the library’s xeriscaped patio garden.
Comfort Public Library Director Kimberli Evans said the “must-do” project will update the historic Arno Schwethelm Building in downtown Comfort, the library’s home since 1982. Built in 1916 using locally quarried limestone, the two-story building is a Texas Historic Landmark. Once a mercantile, the building now houses the library’s more than 26,000 volumes, including a Texana collection on the second floor.
“It’s a beautiful building that is full of history, so you want to take care of it and preserve it,” Evans said.
She said wet weather has always been a concern for the library.
“When it rained, you could hear dripping, and we would worry about losing books to water or mold damage,” Evans said. “So we said, ‘We need to get this roof fixed.’ It turned out that it’s been at least 25 to 30 years since it’s been replaced.”
The new roof not only will protect the library’s books and other materials, it also will safeguard the historic building’s original stamped-tin ceiling.
With the roof being repaired, Evans and her staff look forward to turning their attention to new programs for young patrons, including beginning instruction in computer coding and NASA-created math, science and technology activities.
Beyond its educational programs for children and teens, the library serves as a community hub, providing meeting space for various community organizations. The library also hosts English as a Second Language (ESL), citizenship and computer classes, all taught free of charge.
“Thinking about the problems with the roof brought us much stress,” said Evans, who began work at the library as a clerk in 2007 and became its director in 2015. “This grant really helps us. It’s amazing.”
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. Bandera Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
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.