Students design pop-up park in downtown Athens

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ATHENS, Ala. - A unique space, designed by students as part of their unconventional curriculum, has opened up in an alley in downtown Athens.

"This is small town America, what a great thing to do for the fall season," said Mayor Ronnie Marks during the ribbon cutting of the new pop-up park.

Students from Athens Renaissance School transformed the alley into a fall-themed oasis.

"This is the ARS Pop Up Park," said 10th-grader Emily Pfeifer. "We figured we would take a run down alley and build something we thought the whole community could enjoy."

The pop-up park is the first project for this year's students.

"Part of our school is project-based where we do things in the community," explained their teacher, Scott McCormick. "We apply some strategies, normal math, reading, that kind of stuff, building, but we also include life skills and how to affect your community in a positive way."

From the scarecrows to the table, every aspect of the autumn haven is from the minds and hands of the Athens Renaissance Students.

"From the planning to the implementation and building, and procurement of materials, they had a hand in every bit of it," said McCormick.

The students were strangers at the onset of the project and had to learn to coordinate each individual's skills to bring together the decorative space just off the courthouse square.

"The students at Renaissance had a great vision for a plan just to beautify our downtown," said Mayor Marks.

The park will be in place through November 17 as part of the city's bicentennial celebration.

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