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Grant will bring walking track to historic Gillespie-Selden neighborhood

The state of play is about to change in Cordele, GA. We’ve been selected as one of 200 finalists in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million, national competition to award out-of-the-box ways to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families—especially for those who lack access to safe, stimulating places today. We’ve got big ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving here in Cordele, and we’re working hard to win the funds to make them happen. But we can dream ever bigger with your help.

Plans and design for the Cordele Walking track.

Plans and design for the Cordele Walking track.

What does it mean to bring Play Everywhere to Cordele?

Science and common sense agree: kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. Evidence shows missing out on the chance to play puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school. Here in Cordele, like the rest of the country, not all kids have the same access to places where they can engage in safe, creative activity. That status quo isn’t the right answer for Cordele. Play is just too important to our kids’ healthy development for anyone to be left out.

Earlier this spring, Jennifer Edalgo and Jerome Outlaw with the St. Paul/Gillespie-Seldon Learning Center got together to find new ways to bring play into the lives of Cordele’s children—especially for those who need it most—because we know that’s key to making our community a great place to grow up. Our idea is to called “Coming Round the Track”-a railroad-looking walking track with a stage attached and vibrant benches for sitting. It will be created in a 200ft x 200ft vacant field located beside 16th Ave and 12th St.  We hope to draw the community in and provide a safe place for recreation.  We were selected as a finalist out of over 1,000 applications nationwide; if we’re named as one of the 50 winners this fall, we’ll break ground starting in September 2016!

How can you get involved?

We need partners who will be recognized that want to improve this fabulous community for generations to come. We know more places to play builds better bonds—among kids, neighbors, and communities—and those relationships are the foundation for communities that thrive. Our proposal to create a railroad walking track is modest but a mighty boost to kids’ chances to get active and creative in Cordele. If we’re selected as a winner, we hope it will be just the beginning of a larger effort to make play a way of life in everyday and unexpected places – sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, open streets. And we’re confident our idea isn’t just a great solution for Cordele. It could be a bellwether for other communities across the nation who want to change the state of play for kids and families.

With more local investment and support, we can make this vision a reality—and take it to new heights. Contact us to learn more about our idea to turn everyday spaces in PLAYces here in Cordele. 

Contact Jennifer Edalgo:  CordeleAlliance@gmail.com or 904-674-1481 or on FaceBook

The Play Everywhere Challenge is being hosted by KaBOOM! in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts.