From left: Lauren Salazar, BEC marketing and communications manager; Bill Hetherington, BEC chief executive officer; Brad Harrell, CYB president; Deuce Grenwelge, CYB player; George Grenwelge, CYB player agent; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Michael L. “Mike” Allen, LCRA Board member; Clayton Patton, CYB treasurer; Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; and Kurt Solis, BEC District 9 director.
KERR COUNTY, Texas – A $24,993 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative will help Comfort Youth Baseball install new energy-efficient lighting for its playing fields and a public playground.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $20,357 in matching funds from the recipient, will pay for new fixtures and brighter lighting for the youth league’s two playing fields, one for baseball and one for softball, and its batting cage. The new LED lighting will replace metal halide lights that have been in use for about 15 years.
“During the season, we have $800-$900-a-month utility bills,” said Clayton Patton, treasurer for Comfort Youth Baseball. “Using LEDs should cut our costs and make the lights last longer. We want to keep the lights from being a maintenance issue for at least a decade.”
The new lights and community playground are among a number of recent improvements to Comfort Youth Baseball’s facilities, including leveling the playing fields and repairing an irrigation system. The changes have led to an increase in players.
“About three years ago, we had about 120 kids,” Patton said. “Now, we have about 165 softball or baseball players. The facilities were starting to show some age, but we’re working to improve them and get them up to snuff with some of the other leagues in the area. We’re hoping these changes will bring in more kids.”
The playground was acquired for free from a San Antonio charter school that was replacing it. Patton works for an excavation company that was working on a project at the school, and he asked the project’s general contractor if it would donate the old playground to Comfort Youth Baseball. The general contractor agreed, and volunteers took the playground apart and transported it to Comfort, where it was reassembled.
“We wanted some lights around the playground and common areas so people can bring their kids there at night and on weekends,” Patton said. “The ballfields are privately owned, but we want the community to be able to enjoy the playground at any time.”
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. 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 July. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp
Photo and press release courtesy of LCRA.