Bleckley fourth graders ask Cochran city council for park

COCHRAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – If there’s something you want for your community, people say you have to write to your local government. 

Nearly 100 Bleckley County Elementary School students want a park in Cochran, so they wrote to their mayor. What started as a project in class has possibly become one for the city and the mayor says it’s time to take action. 

When you’re a kid, you want to play.

“There’s no park in Cochran,” 4th grader Lauren Coley says. 

She and her classmates say because of that, having fun isn’t easy. Joshua Morris, Riley Haley, and Lauren are three of nearly 100 students who want a park in the city. 

“We made a map so we could tell the mayor what we think the city park should have,” Joshua says. 
 
The young architects and artists wasted no time drawing up their version of what the park should look like. 

“I put on mine a community garden, but I really didn’t think it was going to be on there just because a community garden is a really big thing. But we could do like tracks and swings,” Lauren says.

“A lot of shade and picnic tables,” Riley says. 

With the help of an ambitious teacher, city leaders listened. 

“At the end of the year after testing was finished and everything, I was trying to think of a project that would incorporate a lot of the different things that they had learned throughout the course of the year in social studies,” their then teacher, Kim Fernandez, a teacher at the school says .

Civic engagement 101. 

Cochran Mayor Michael Stoy says they’ve talked about a park for years, but haven’t had this much momentum.

“I think the kids brought this to the point where we just can’t keep talking about it in small groups. We’ve reached a point where we’ve got to make a decision one way or the other. If we’re going to move forward we have to find some way of making it happen,” Stoy says by phone. 

Armed with a petition of nearly 130 signatures, the Bleckley 4th graders presented their plan to city council. 

“You can go to the park and then you can go to the stores downtown, the little shops. That would be good for business,” Lauren says. 

A good sell. 

“We’d be like yay a bunch of 4th graders accomplished building a city park for Cochran. I hope  that the park makes Cochran a more known place. A better place to play,” Lauren says.

“And maybe more people will show up in Cochran. You never know,” Riley says. 

They hope their enthusiasm will be enough to fill the city. 

Mayor Stoy says there’s now a park task force made up of representatives from the city and from the school, including the students, so they get closer to getting a park in Cochran. 

Categories: Bleckley County, Local News

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