Pictured, from left on the front row, are Jane Press, Carmine Economic Development Corporation board member; Vicki LaRue, Carmine EDC board member and grant project coordinator; Byron Balke, Bluebonnet Board Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, District 6; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA board member; Susan Bathe, Carmine mayor pro tem and Carmine EDC board president; Kristi Wunderlich, Carmine EDC board vice president; and Wade Eilers, Carmine mayor. From left on the back row, are Anita Drydale, Carmine city council member; Ruby McCullough, Carmine EDC board member; Sherry Murphy, Bluebonnet Giddings-area community representative; Luke Sternadel, Fayette County commissioner, Precinct 2; Dan Mueller, Fayette County judge; Richard Thames, Carmine EDC board treasurer; Cassie Austin, executive assistant for Fayette County Judge Dan Mueller; and Russell Jurk, Bluebonnet Board member.
The City of Carmine will construct a new concrete plaza and renovate the flood-damaged pavilion at Muehlbrad-Albers City Park, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and the Lower Colorado River Authority.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $32,800 in matching funds from the Carmine Economic Development Corporation, will help make the park safer and able to accommodate larger groups.
The park runs through the middle of Carmine and provides the only pavilion in town. The grant will provide funds to help renovate the existing pavilion with new plumbing and electrical installations and create a new concrete plaza to provide additional seating for gatherings. The renovation will increase safety by removing a deteriorated kitchen in the pavilion and an unsafe, steep grassy slope east of the pavilion.
“It’s been needing an upgrade for a very long time,” said Vicki LaRue, Carmine Economic Development Corporation board member.
The park’s pavilion was severely damaged during a flood in 2016. Crews have stabilized the pavilion, but no other significant improvements have been done.
“It’s sad, but we haven’t been able to hold many picnics or parties in the park because the pavilion doesn’t have enough seating space and flexibility,” LaRue said. “I believe the park will be used more with a renovated pavilion and the new plaza.”
The project will help the city finish up park improvements included in a master plan developed several years ago. Earlier work has included lighting repairs, adding sidewalks and water fountains, and removing old play equipment.
“I’m extremely excited and more than relieved,” LaRue said. “I love Carmine and the park. We really want it to be the best place for everyone to be proud of and use.”
The park also is regularly used by visitors from Burton and Round Top, the Winedale community and northern Fayette and western Washington counties.
The community grant is one of six grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and 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 July. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.