Metro Parks make life better for new Central Ohio residents

Metro Parks make life better for a Michigan couple that moved to Central Ohio. Here they walk on the Overlook Trail at Highbanks on a sunny February day
If you see Barbara and Paul Toman at Inniswood or on the trails at a park, be sure to say hello. (Virginia Gordon)

Metro Parks filled a void for a couple that recently moved to Central Ohio from Lansing, Michigan, to be close to their daughter. Barbara and Paul Toman are in their sixties now and wanted to relocate while they still felt healthy and active and able to enjoy life.

One of the frustrations they encountered was finding things to do and places to go. They struggled with making new friends. “It’s a lot easier to make new friends when you’re younger and have kids,” said Barbara. “There’s so much more community happenings for young parents to get together and establish new friendships.”

At a New Year’s Eve church service, someone gave them a copy of Parkscope, listing Metro Parks programs. They saw the Winter Hikes series and went to all the hikes, meeting people and experiencing the beautiful natural settings of Metro Parks.

Barbara and Paul also discovered the Metro Five-0 series of programs, for people age 50 and older. They went to a laughter yoga program at Sharon Woods and the next day went on an eagle walk program at Highbanks. This Metro Five-0 program was one of the more strenuous ones, including a 3-mile hike.

Barbara loves to walk. It helps her stay fit and well, even though she has a muscle disease which can impact how fast or far she can walk on different days.

“We love being out in nature and discovering the features of the different parks,” Barbara said. “I love to listen to the birds and the shifting rhythms of the wind as I walk.”

They are looking forward to warmer weather, so they can ride their bikes at the parks. Paul said, “It’s less stress on Barbara’s knees and she can do a bigger mileage on her bike than walking the trails.”

They have just completed volunteer training at Inniswood Metro Gardens, too. “Looks like we’ll be enjoying lots of time there,” Barbara says.

If you see Barbara and Paul at Inniswood, or on the trails at a park, be sure to say hello.

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