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Kids share opinions on Cool Springs Park
Powell informs third-grade class about options for land
Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell speaks to a third-grade class about plans for Cool Springs Park. The Sardis Enrichment School students were learning about local government and wrote persuasive pieces on what the commissioners should do with the Cool Springs land.

The grown-ups who run Hall County decided the fate of Cool Springs Park on Thursday night. But local kids who will be most affected by that choice shared their thoughts earlier that morning.

Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell, who represents the northwest Hall area where the park is planned, visited Vicky Howell's third-grade class Thursday morning at Sardis Enrichment School.

As he presented different options for the 75-acre park, ranging from simply stabilizing the land to building tournament-quality baseball fields, the children made their choices.

Though the original plan to build baseball fields, a skate park, nature trails and other athletic fields elicited excitement from the kids, most were concerned with how much money those features would cost.

Third-grader Brittany Denmon said those plans were "just too fancy." Along with most of her classmates, she voted for Option 2, building practice fields with fences only along the backstop.

Chelsea Miller said she also chose Option 2 "because it costs less money."

One student chose to just stabilize the land, two chose option 3 with nicer fields and six chose the tournament fields.

In the end, some students likely were happy as commissioners voted to go with Option 3. Powell said he was impressed with how informed the students were.

"We had a variety of opinions. They went from don't build anything to build everything and somewhere in between," he said. "I think it was interesting that the vote of the children was to build something in the middle."

For Howell, the exercise was about current events, but also about writing skills, learning about government and even math.

"They drew their own pictures of the park so they got to measure using centimeters and that's part of their math standards."

The children also wrote persuasive paragraphs about how to use the land. Their opinions showed an interest in having fun at the park but also protecting wildlife and getting exercise.

Nick Nation wrote that the commissioners should build the park so he could use it to ride his bike, inline skate and skate board.

"I can't do a lot at my house because my neighborhood is ... small," he wrote.

Classmate Amy Vo expressed concern about tax money.

"We don't have money to buy supplies for our families if we waste tax money," she wrote.

"They each have their own opinions, and they can express what they want," Howell said. "I've tried not to sway them one way or another. But now that they've heard the information they're more informed."