The Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative provided the grant to repair and replace mortar and stone in critical areas of the old courthouse on Blanco’s downtown square. The preservation society began an effort to save the Texas historic landmark in 1986. The preservation society is responsible for purchasing, renovating and operating the courthouse.
“The old Blanco County Courthouse is considered a legacy in our community,” said Richard J. Giron, vice president of the preservation society Board. “We’re doing everything possible to continue its structural integrity, its place in history and its beauty as an integral part of the City of Blanco, not only for our residents, but for visitors and generations to follow.”
As the building ages, cracked stone and large holes in the masonry compromise the exterior of the courthouse and structure of the building. The masonry repairs will stop water from entering the building in and around the windows, which has damaged the structure.
“This grant plays an instrumental part in the ongoing, daunting task of preserving this magnificent building,” Giron said.
Maintaining the integrity and historic value of the building is complex when stone and mortar on the exterior of the building need to be repaired or replaced. But the work is important: A survey report for the National Register of Historic Places calls the courthouse “one of the finest examples of courthouse architecture from the late 19th century in Texas.” The historic courthouse is a popular site for visitors, as well as weddings, seminars, special events and outdoor events. In 2013, the building hosted 3,742 visitors and 42 events.
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. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
LCRA is a nonprofit conservation and reclamation district that provides energy, water and community services to Texans. Created by the Texas Legislature in 1934, LCRA has no taxing authority and operates solely on utility revenues and service fees. LCRA supplies electricity to Texans through its wholesale customers. LCRA also provides many other services to the region. These services include managing floods, protecting the quality of the lower Colorado River and its tributaries, providing parks and recreational facilities, offering economic development assistance, operating water and wastewater utilities, and providing soil, energy and water conservation programs.