RICHLAND SPRINGS, Texas – A $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Richland Springs Independent School District replace old, obsolete playground equipment and bring the playground into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, paired with matching funds of $24,401, will allow the school district to install fall-protection surfacing and new playground equipment, including wheelchair accessible swings.
“We are a single campus that serves kindergarten through high school in our small community, so our old playground is extremely important to our kids and it gets a lot of use,” said Richland Springs ISD Superintendent Don Fowler. “My wife and I have six children who are now out of college, and they all attended school in Richland Springs and played on that same equipment.”
Residents still use many of the town’s old, well-constructed buildings, including the high school that was built in 1927 – five years before Richland Springs was incorporated. Over the years, the school and its grounds have remained a central part of the community, and the playground provides a place for families to bring children for exercise and to enjoy swings, slides and monkey bars, Fowler said.
“We host alumni events at our school gym, which has a 1939 Works Progress Administration plaque on it, and the kids who come with their parents naturally gravitate to the playground,” Fowler said. “During our football games, the younger kids run to the playground because it’s just a hop, skip and jump from the field.” He added that their football team has won nine state championships since 2004.
The small, tightly knit community provides many benefits, but Fowler said the town’s smaller population also can make it hard to raise money for things like new playground equipment.
“Our playground has gone a long time without any upgrades, and we are really excited about making it a nicer, safer place that will be accessible to everyone,” Fowler said. “We may have a small school, but we have good kids who deserve a better place to play and exercise.”
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.
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.