LCRA, Bluebonnet award $16,002 grant for Ellinger Community Center improvements


LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $16,002 grant to the Ellinger Chamber of Commerce for community center improvements. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, front row from left to right, are: Tami Blaschke-Walker, City of Schulenburg city administrator and CDPP review committee member; Michael Schlabach, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce president; Byron Balke, Bluebonnet director; Hondo Powell, Bluebonnet community and development services representative; and Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member. Back row, from left to right: Charlotte Michalsky, chamber director; Miranda Schlabach, grant writer; Tom Kubena, chamber secretary; Diane Marusik, chamber director; and William Koehl, chamber vice president.

ELLINGER, Texas – The Ellinger Chamber of Commerce soon will make much-needed improvements to its community center, thanks to a $16,002 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. 

The grant, along with $4,001 in local matching funds, will allow for new air conditioning units for the bar and kitchen areas, new kitchen insulation, and new lighting for the bar, kitchen and outside cooking area. 

During events, the kitchen and bar area get so hot that volunteers have trouble completing their shifts, and the beverage coolers can’t keep drinks cool. The difficult working conditions created by the heat have made it hard to retain and recruit volunteers.  

“We are very grateful for this grant,” said Michael Schlabach, Ellinger Chamber of Commerce president. “We have no way to generate the funds needed for these improvements, but because of the grant, we can make the building more comfortable for all of our volunteers and visitors.”  

Schlabach says the community takes a lot of pride in the center, which was once the Ellinger school. The school closed in 1953, and its gymnasium now is the center’s dance floor.  

“The center is the heart of our community,” Schlabach said. “We host bingo, fundraisers and weddings, and are booked every weekend through the end of the year. This grant helps us continue to provide an attractive venue for all kinds of groups – from reunions to community meetings to festivals – right here in the community.” 

The Ellinger Community Center serves about 300 residents, plus the surrounding towns and counties.  

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s electric and water 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 a partner in the grant program. 

Applications for the next round of grants are due Jan 31. More information is available at

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