LCRA, City of Smithville award $13,900 grant for community center repairs
New roof, ceiling tiles to help Smithville Community Gardens expand center’s use
Dec. 1, 2021
SMITHVILLE, Texas – Smithville Community Gardens soon will make significant repairs to its community center, thanks to a $13,900 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Smithville.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $3,600 in matching funds, will allow Smithville Community Gardens to replace the roof and ceiling tiles and remove mold at the center. After the roof is replaced, volunteers also will deep clean the facility.
Smithville Community Gardens, an all-volunteer organization, inherited the facility when the Smithville Food Pantry moved to a larger building. Smithville Mayor Joanna Morgan said the move gave the Community Gardens the opportunity to expand its reach.
“In addition to the gardens, this group now can offer public education about the value of fresh vegetables in a healthy diet and presentations on fresh food preparation,” Morgan said. “It also provides a center for volunteer meetings, storage and a library of gardening books available to the public.”
The community center is one of only two city facilities in its neighborhood where people can gather. The center includes a kitchen and meeting rooms available for various activities.
“Instead of meeting in people’s homes, we now have office space and classroom space,” said Jill Strube, fundraising chair. “It was a huge leap forward for the organization.”
Smithville Community Gardens hosts events such as summer camps, cooking lessons and community meetings. The center also provides computers and internet access for the public and is working with the Smithville Public Library as an annex.
“Many people go to the library to use the computers and go online,” Strube said. “Smithville has train tracks that run right through town, and families that live on the opposite side of the tracks from the library have a hard time getting there. Having Wi-Fi available 24/7 for anyone who wants to park at the facility, whether or not it’s open, is a huge asset for Smithville.”
Strube said the improvements to the center will allow the organization to continue growing its programs.
“We’re a small organization that doesn’t require a lot of money to run,” Strube said. “But when we saw what it was going to cost to replace the roof, that’s more than half of our normal fundraising efforts in a year. So, this grant is very meaningful.”
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. The City of Smithville 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.