Grant funds will provide needed shade at splash pad

It’s summertime in Texas.  And that means people will do just about anything to stay cool.  For many residents of Diboll, particularly children, the Splash Pad in Old Orchard Park is the destination of choice.
But since there is no cover to provide shade, even the pad itself can get pretty hot, not to mention the danger of overexposure to the sun.  That will all soon change as the result of a $17,500 donation from the Thomas T. Keeler Grant Program.
“When the restroom building was torn down, that eliminated all covered areas as well as seating for anyone using the facility or watching over children that were there,” said City Finance Director Elvia Garza.  “The majority of this money will be used to build canopies over the splash area and seating around it.”
Garza, who serves as the Community Coordinator for Keep Diboll Beautiful, explained that some of the funds would also be used to maintain the flower beds in the esplanade at Loop 210 and Highway 59 as well as those at City Hall.
Grants from the Keeler Grant Program are made in honor of Thomas T. Keeler and his wife Cora, and in memory of his grandfather T.L.L. Temple, and his mother Marquerite Temple Payne.  Organizations selected to receive funds should seek to enhance the educational, social and physical qualities of life within the community.
“This grant is all about promoting the public interest, especially the physical and social aspects,” said Garza.  “Anything that can be done to make the town look nice will tend to get people more involved, and they will have more pride in their community.”
Keep Diboll Beautiful is a part of Angelina Beautiful Clean, the county-wide organization that promotes beauty, cleanliness, and environmental programs.  Each city in the county has a coordinator that serves as a liaison between the city and the county group.
In Diboll, there is also a separate Beautification Committee which serves as an advisory board to Keep Diboll Beautiful
Garza explained that Keep Diboll Beautiful applied for the Keeler grant because operating funds are always limited.  “When we have big projects, we need grants to fund them,” she said.
Garza went on to describe how the Diboll group works with Angelina Beautiful Clean on special projects such as recycling days and Trash-Offs, but when something is done that is specific to an individual city, the local organization must find the funding.
“Keep Diboll Beautiful spends a lot in the park because a lot of people get the use of it,” Garza said.  She hopes to get the canopies installed soon because it’s already summer and people are already using the Splash Pad.  Plans are to make them colorful and eye-catching.
Diboll was recognized as a Gold Star Affiliate in June by Keep Texas Beautiful.  This designation was conferred on just 55 of KTB’s more than 360 affiliates.  Gold Star recognition is the highest status any community affiliate can achieve.
It is also possible for Keep Diboll Beautiful to accumulate data on beautification efforts and win the Governor’s Community Achievement Award and the monetary stipend that goes with it.  Another project coming up soon will be a litter index which will be submitted to Keep America Beautiful.  This will continue eligibility for grants from the national organization.
“We can always use volunteers,” concluded Garza.  “Anyone who wants to participate can get in touch with me at City Hall.  And donations can be made to Angelina Beautiful Clean and earmarked for use in Diboll.”