DENVER – The East Lincoln Betterment Association was established in 1976, and from writing grants to hosting Christmas celebrations, ELBA has been actively involved in a number of community initiatives in its 42 years.
“People were looking for ways to create a better quality of life here,” former ELBA president and current member George Barr said of the association’s beginning. “At the time, there wasn’t even a doctor or pharmacy in the area.”
Barr, who has been involved with ELBA for 10 years, said the founders of the group helped “recruit medical professionals” to establish offices in the eastern part of Lincoln County as part of its first task.
Other major projects over the last 40 years include funding the traffic study that ultimately led to the building of the Florence S. Shanklin Library, helping build the East Lincoln Optimist Club baseball field and shaping the policies that make up the county’s Unified Development Ordinance – a guidebook of zoning policies and practices, Barr said.
“There have been a lot of different things,” he said. “It's all been community related.”
Barr described ELBA as a “civic organization with some weight to it,” not a political group, though it has helped address local needs through policy change and by working with community stakeholders.
Barr said the ELBA has been able to help write grants for other community organizations, and the group is currently working with Keep Lincoln County Beautiful to help it gain more traction.
So what’s on the docket for 2018?
Barr said plans for the 2018 tree lighting and Christmas parade are already in the works, and several candidate forums have been planned for this election season.
Barr said the group will likely host three candidate forums this year, due to the number of people slated to be vying for each seat available and based on the 300-some headcount for the last forum.
For those interested in joining ELBA, membership dues are $25 per family and the application can be found at www.elbadenvernc.net.