Kentucky is beginning to ease some of the restrictions on our personal freedoms imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. I think it is past time to do so, particularly in this immediate area where the number of people testing positive for the virus has never been high, and was zero for several days in a row.

I'm not saying we need to go back to the way it was on Feb. 1, but there are some things I am not allowed to do that I think to do not endanger anyone's health. Like walking in a Central Park, for example. The decision to reopen the park this weekend is long overdue.

 My wife and I and sometimes my granddaughter and dog regularly walk around the park. As long as the Ashland Area YMCA remains closed, about the only way I can get the exercise I need to help me control my diabetes is to walk regularly. Sometimes we have walked in the Ashland Cementery, at Ashland Blazer High School, in the neighborhood and in other locations, but our favorite place to walk has always been Central Park. It is reasonably level, the sidewalks are well-maintained and the scenery is nice.

I have always enjoyed walking, but not running. There was a time when I would walk whenever I could. I'd walk to and from work, to lunch, and to nearby meetings. It was nothing for me to walk between 5 and 10 miles a day.

Those days are gone. While the old days had co-workers who refused to walk with me because I walked faster than they wanted to go, I now may be the slowest regular walker in Central Park, and I can't go nearly as far as I used to. A co-worker and I used to walk the 1.3 miles around Central Park in 15 minutes. I now can't walk any distance at all without the help of a walker, and it takes me almost 30 minutes to walk from the corner of 17th Street and Central Avenue to the entrance of King's Daughters Medical Center by using the sidewalks around the park.

All other walkers pass me and are soon so far ahead of me that I can barely see them. This does not embarrass me. I'm not walking for speed, because I don't have any. I'm a human turtle (maybe even a snail) who is going for distance. I know I would burn more calories if I could walk faster, but my slow, steady stroll with my walker is a lot better than sitting on my duff watching television or reading.

However, my favorite place to walk in Central Park is in the park, not around it. Before the city closed the park, I would begin my walks on Central  Avenue at 17th Street, but I would turn off Central at the fountain by the Boyd County Public Library and follow the paved path that winds through park, past the restrooms and concession stands, around the pond and onto 22nd Street by the hospital. It is a little and 10 times more interesting than walking around the park.

I can understand why they closed the playgrounds and ballfields and limited public gatherings in the park, but I come closer with far more people every time I walk around the park than I ever did when I walked through the park. I don't see how banning me and others from doing so has made anyone safer. I’m glad to see it open back up.


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