Cochran is not unlike most small to medium-sized communities in Georgia. There are the typical sections of neighborhoods for different races, for the races to mix, for different economic classes, etc … etc …
Cochran is the county seat for Bleckley County – so the courthouse is there housing the county governing offices, and it is historical. There is a city-run government with city run agencies.
There is a quaint little downtown area – once, booming, but now missing many familiar, long-standing businesses.
At last count, there are three banks, a Walmart, gas stations, one McDonald’s, one Wendy’s, one Dairy Queen, one Captain D’s, one Subway, one Huddle House, and some mom and pop type restaurants, a florist or two, a mosaic of beauty salons and barber shops, two gyms, a pawn shop, a consignment shop, and a peppering of other businesses, including a Dollar Tree and a Dollar General Market.
Churches seem to line every corner. There is a college – Middle Georgia State University, and a state-honored school system that includes a Pre-K, a primary, an elementary, a middle school and a high school.
Allegedly, there is an ‘old boy network’ that means the town is run by old money. Allegedly, there are questionable characters in leadership as elected officials and in various departments of governing bodies, or so the social media rumor mill says. Based on conversations overheard in town and rants on social media, there always some sort of issue involving race, economy and crime, and bias. What community or city doesn’t go through such?
Let’s not forget the alleged fusses over the lack of quality of service provided by governing agencies, and what about the buildings that are falling apart. Budgetary concerns top the list of a lot of coffee club discussions. There are complaints that Cochran is not growing, even with the newest business additions and highway work.
So, what in the world is wrong with Cochran?
For more than 40 years, my family has lived in Cochran and Bleckley County – my dad was raised in the area. After almost a decade of living away, I came back three years ago. As a reporter, I was privy to the behind the scenes look at city and county government and civic organizations in Cochran and Bleckley County for a number of years, and later in other communities I served, I saw how other governments and such worked.
Based on these experience and training, I can honestly say, there is nothing wrong with the city of Cochran.
What is going on in the city of Cochran can’t be blamed for what bothers its citizens. Maybe it is the attitudes and actions of we the citizens that need changing. Cochran is a typical town in Georgia.
If you really looked at the city of Cochran, you would find a diamond of a city. Full of colorful characters, tradition and charming history, Cochran offers much to those who live here or visit here.
All you have to do is look outside the box, step beyond the negative boundaries and open your eyes. In Cochran, if you were walking downtown and fell on the sidewalk, someone would stop and help you up, find out your name, and would come check on you later.
Take time to take the driving tour of the area. Read the historical markers. Ride the streets looking at houses for sale, and notice the care that some of your neighbors take on their homes. Put your mobile devices down, and have conversations.
This makes the community even more appealing. With the growth of the area with the Robins Air Force Base, and of course, the college, there has been an influx of foreigners, and I don’t just mean from across the seas type foreigners, I mean … foreigners from the north. Yes, my Southern friends and relatives, we have Yankees in our parts. And we should be glad of it. (And a lot of these northerners do their best to become a part of the community – so do the other foreigner types. And we should be glad of that as well. They help our growth.)
You never know who might be standing behind you in the line at Citizens Bank of Cochran or you might pass in the aisles at Bleckley Ace Hardware or at the next pump at the Circle K or grabbing a Blizzard from Dairy Queen or waiting for a seat at DGR’s or ahead of you at Cochran Cellphone Clinic.
So again, I say, there is nothing wrong with the city of Cochran.
Be proud of your city. Wear your city’s pride well.
*Editor’s Note: Based on a concept and editorial the writer wrote concerning a community she resided in while away from Cochran. Opinions are welcome as long as they are civilized, and not slanderous or full of defamation of characters or such or if they differ from the writer’s.