The following story is courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority.
For 20 years, the basketball court at Manchaca United Methodist Church has provided a spot for area residents and visitors to enjoy friendly competitions and a good workout. But as the lighting at the facility has deteriorated over time, players have had to rely on makeshift solutions like friends and family shining their headlights on the court to finish a game after nightfall.
A $3,065 Community Development Partnership Program Grant from LCRA and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, along with $800 in matching funds, will change that, as it will allow Manchaca UMC to install new LED lighting at the covered community basketball court so the games can go on.
Only six bulbs from the existing 20 overhead fluorescent lights still work. The project will replace those fixtures, as well as install new security lights on the exterior of the building to better illuminate the parking areas surrounding the court.
“The new lights will make the court like new again,” said Beth Watkins, chair of the Manchaca UMC Board of Trustees. “Players and their friends and families will no longer feel the need to shine their car headlights on the court for play to continue after dark.
“Not only will the court be brighter, but new exterior floodlights will make the surrounding area with picnic tables and parking much better lit,” Watkins said. “The safety of everyone in attendance will be enhanced.”
Open and free to the public, the court’s value to the community is evident by the players’ contributions: Several have volunteered to replace broken backboards and goals and helped to repaint the striping over the years, Watkins said.
The court attracts a diverse range of players — parents teaching their children, individuals practicing their shooting, team pickup games and weekly wheelchair games. Watkins estimates you can count on at least 20 and up to about 60 players coming around each day. Participants in an early morning exercise class also will benefit from the lighted court.
The community grant is one of 25 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.
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.