LCRA, PEC award $25,000 grant for new playground equipment - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community LCRA, PEC award $25,000 grant for new playground equipment - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community


LCRA, PEC award $25,000 grant for new playground equipment

Centrally located First Baptist Church of Blanco community playground is a big draw for schoolchildren and families attending nearby events

May 5, 2022

LCRA and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives present a $25,000 grant to the First Baptist Church of Blanco for new playground equipment. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Addison Gernenz, Blanco High School student; Bill Gernenz, FBC Blanco pastor; Heather Gernenz, FBC Blanco community outreach team leader; Caroline Porter, PEC community relations manager; Jared Fields, PEC public affairs representative; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Michael L. “Mike” Allen, LCRA Board member; Gary Kuzins, FBC Blanco youth pastor; Dawne Robinson, FBC Blanco playground committee member; Robby Robinson, church council member; and Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.

BLANCO, Texas – A grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative will help the First Baptist Church of Blanco replace worn-out equipment at one of the area’s few public playgrounds. The $25,000 Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with about $40,000 in matching funds from church members and the community, will modernize the play area and help ensure it remains a hub of the growing Blanco community. The playground is centrally located and within walking distance of the Blanco Independent School District elementary, middle and high schools. It’s also across the street from the football stadium and baseball field, making it a popular spot for people to meet up on their way from event to event, said Bill Gernenz, First Baptist Church of Blanco pastor. “Not only is this encouraging exercise and outdoor play, it’s also pulling the community together and giving them a chance to communicate and socialize – it strengthens relationships,” Gernenz said. Gernenz said it became particularly clear how important the playground is to the community when parents were working from home and students were learning online due to COVID-19. The playground gave kids a safe place to enjoy the outdoors and burn off some energy. The playground is fenced in, which is important for safety, but has limited, aging equipment. The new playground will be ADA-accessible and will include features such as an overhead snake ladder, a spiral step climber and a triple slide. “I have been here about 17 years, and some of the equipment was here when I moved here,” said Robby Robinson, a member of the Church Council. “About six months ago, we had to take down a piece of equipment because we were concerned about safety. We’re very grateful to be able to make these improvements.” In another reflection of the playground’s value to the community, Gernenz noted that a group of high school students took the initiative a couple of years ago to start raising money for the upgrades as part of a pay-it-forward project. The enthusiastic response from the community helped pave the way for the project that is soon to become a reality, Gernenz said. The community grant is one of 36 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. Pedernales 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 July. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.

About LCRA
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.

About PECFounded in 1938 by then-Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson, Pedernales Electric Cooperative Inc. is a member-owned electric cooperative serving more than 370,000 accounts across Central Texas. An industry-recognized leader providing outstanding member service and reliable electricity, PEC conducts its business via a transparent and democratic process and highly encourages member participation.

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