Lexington playgrounds, basketball courts to reopen Saturday

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 01, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The sound coming from the patrol car was hard to listen to on Wednesday.

"The playground is still closed," the officer said through his cruiser's megaphone.

And just like that, several disheartened kids were chased from their childhood. It's a sad sign of the times, but good news is on the horizon. The city will be reopening its playground equipment this Saturday.

Playgrounds in Lexington are set to reopen on Saturday, July 4.

"It's been hard on the parents, too, I know this," said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton of the coronavirus-induced closures of city playgrounds.

It was a tough decision to shut the playgrounds down; it was even more challenging to make the call on when to open them back up.

"The playgrounds are hard because you know what happens at playgrounds, the kids mob each other, and the parents clump together to talk," Gorton said. "It was difficult to figure out how to do playgrounds safely."

In reality, the city will be relying on blind faith and will need the help of adults to pull it off.

"We think it can work if the parents and children follow the rules," Gorton said.

The rules include maintaining a safe distance from one another, wearing a mask (if over the age of 3) and making sure to use good judgment if the playground area seems to be getting too crowded. Gorton also said it's a good idea to bring along a package of sanitizing wipes to clean off the equipment before use.

Will Hanrahan of Lexington has a two-year-old daughter, who he knows is itching to get back on the slides.

"Just need to be careful, bring sanitizer and wear our masks," Hanrahan said of the family's plan for returning to the playground at Jacobson Park.

Kids aren't the only beneficiaries of the decision to reopen. The lids that the city put on park basketball court rims, like those at Douglass Park, will also be coming down this weekend.

Basketball goal.jpg
Public basketball courts are set to reopen on Saturday, July 4.

"I know a lot of young people, and probably some older people will enjoy that," Gorton said.

But perhaps no one will enjoy it more than that police officer, who had to chase those kids from the playground this morning.

"I hate to have to do that," he said.

Come Saturday; he won't have to anymore.