Bluebonnet, LCRA award $21,315 grant to Ellinger Chamber of Commerce


Pictured, from left to right are: Paula Urban, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce treasurer; Paulette Urban, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce director; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA board member; Mark Johnson, Bluebonnet Giddings-area community representative; Nicole Ramirez, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce vice president; Tom Kubena, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce director; Byron Balke, Bluebonnet Board assistant secretary/treasurer; Michael Schlabach, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce president; Charlotte Michalsky, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce director; Miranda Schlabach, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce grant writer/volunteer; and Kyle Merten Bluebonnet Brenham-area community representative.

The Ellinger Chamber of Commerce will make significant improvements to the Ellinger Community Center, thanks to a $21,315 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
The grant, along with $9,135 in matching funds from the Chamber, will allow for purchase of a walk-in cooler for food storage, HVAC unit and additional duct work.
“Our large event hall takes a lot to air-condition,” said Michael Schlabach, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce president. “With this grant, we get to improve the temperature control in the dining hall, which will make things much more comfortable for everyone, especially our older generation.”
Built in 1935, the center offers an affordable location for family reunions, weddings, trainings, church services and other events. The center has served generations of Ellinger residents.
“It has hosted local church feasts, fundraisers for the fire department and weddings,” Schlabach said. “Great-grandmothers who were married in this building see their great-grandchildren getting married here.”
The center also serves as an important venue for residents to give back to the community. Each year, volunteers make over 200 gallons of chicken noodle soup in the center’s kitchen as part of a fundraising event. The walk-in cooler will improve food safety and the working environment for volunteers.
“One thing I’m very proud of is that our center teaches children the act of volunteering – learning to do physical labor and that what you gain from it is pride in seeing what you’ve done for the community,” Schlabach said. “As a community center, we try to always keep growing so they see what they’ve contributed and can say ‘I did that. I helped with that.’
“It’s great when you have somebody as small as us getting help from someone as large as LCRA and Bluebonnet,” Schlabach said. “It shows how we all work together – how LCRA and Bluebonnet give back and how we give back. We only have about 300 residents here and we have one of the finest halls in the area. It shows that when people take pride in something, work hard and don’t look out for just themselves but instead look out for their community, they can make a very big difference.”
The community grant is one of five grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and the LCRA 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. Bluebonnet 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

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