Grant could bring new recreational space to Cordele

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - Cordele residents looking for more places to get active could soon be in luck.

The city is one of 200 across the country competing for thousands of dollars in the Kaboom! Play Everywhere Challenge. The challenge is to go beyond the playground, and bring play to unexpected spaces like a bus stop, a crosswalk, or in Cordele's case, a vacant lot.

The lot at the corner of 16th Avenue and 12th Street sits completely empty. Residents Jennifer Edalgo and Jerome Outlaw have plans to change that. They've entered the city into the competition, submitting their idea to build a walking track resembling a railroad, picnic tables, stepping stones, and bench swings.

They say they put a lot of work into developing an idea for somewhere safe, entertaining, and mentally stimulating for children and families. They hope the new additions will give the community a chance to come together and provide a venue for various events.

Edalgo says free physical activity is an issue in Cordele and it's sending the city down the wrong track.

"A third of the community is at risk for being obese, a third of the community is at risk for no physical activity, and sixteen percent is at risk for diabetes, so this is dire. Cordele needs this today," she said.

Outlaw says the project is a way to bring the community together.

"If the project comes to pass and we're able to build the walking track here, what we need is the people to come out use it, enjoy it, be safe," he said. "We're looking for somewhere for them to walk and be safe."

"It's a unifying space where people can come together, meet their neighbors," Edalgo said. "There's not a lot of places to meet your neighbor in Cordele besides Walmart so we need more places like this."

The top 50 in the competition will be announced at the beginning of September. If Cordele is selected, it'll receive $50,000 to move forward and make the plans a reality by December.

Edalgo adds that if the city isn't selected, she hopes the project can still continue. She says the community has already shown a lot of support for the project from local gyms offering to teach fitness classes to a motorcycle club planning to maintain the landscaping of the lot.

She says if this is successful, they hope to add a splash pad.

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