LCRA grant will help power efforts to bring more public events to downtown Columbus
Project will add 60 electrical hookups along courthouse square to support larger festivals and other outdoor events
May 22, 2020
COLUMBUS, Texas – A $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help provide 60 more electrical hookups on the historic Colorado County Courthouse square, providing the opportunity for larger and more outdoor events in downtown Columbus.
The grant, paired with $28,350 in matching funds, will add five secured power hubs, each containing 12 electric outlets, on the courthouse square.
“We’re putting in all of the wiring underground, and the hubs will be in five different spots and have steel plates that cover and secure them,” said Billy Kahn, executive director of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “It’s really cool: a portable power base that will be used for approved events on the square.”
With more electricity available to safely power events, Kahn said he envisions expanded farmers markets and arts and crafts festivals on the courthouse square, along with the addition of outdoor fitness classes and the possible return of the Western history-themed Columbus Folk Fest.
“The goal is to provide more electricity for anything you want to do,” Kahn said. “People often talk about having a movie night on the square, with a large projection screen. That requires a lot of power and that power will now be there.”
The availability of the additional outlets also will eliminate the need for noisy portable power generators and the maze of extension cords winding 50 to 100 feet around the square, Kahn said.
At the center of the project will be the Colorado County Courthouse, which was completed in 1891 and recently underwent a $5 million renovation thanks to a grant from the Texas Historical Commission. The courthouse is included in the National Register of Historic Places and features a copper dome that replaced a bell tower destroyed by a 1909 hurricane.
“What makes me happiest about this project is it’s a joint effort that the city, the county, the chamber alone could not have afforded, but with the help of LCRA, we were able to get these other stakeholders onboard,” Kahn said. “It just warms my heart to see everyone coming together to make this happen.”
The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water 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 July 1-31. 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.