Broome County Considers Smoking Ban in Parks
8/8/2012 (Updated 11:19:21 PM)(Source: Travis Eldridge)
BINGHAMTON -- The latest targets in the push to eradicate smoking from public places are Broome County Parks.
"This is our property," said Broome County Legislator Stephen Herz. "And sending that message is very important."
Four of the five members of the county legislature's recreation committee voted against a resolution banning smoking in county parks Tuesday. One of those legislators was committee chairman Michael Schafer. He voted against the resolution, but not because he's for smoking in the parks.
"People are going to smoke, and when you look at our parks and the way they are configured, they're either going to have to go into the woods or go to the highways," said Schafer. "All of the highways around our parks would present a danger to the smokers."
In the parks though, the major concern was for the children.
"There are a lot of families here, and kids can be influenced by seeing people smoke," said Emilie Blabac. "People can smoke other places."
Currently the playground areas in all Broome County Parks are already tobacco free, but some said that's not enough because they said the whole park should be a family friendly environment.
"All it takes is some wind to push it down to where the kids are playing," said Elizabeth White. "It really doesn't make a difference how far away they are."
While the signs deter some people from lighting a cigarette in playground areas, White said she's seen people some there. Mainly because the rule is difficult to enforce. The county has just one security officer at each county park for an eight hour period per day. That would make enforcing a park-wide ban very difficult.
"Probably for my staff and logistically it would probably be a little difficult to control, and probably wouldn't be able to do an effective job to control," said Jim Dadamio, Director of Security for Broome County.
Wednesday afternoon the same resolution was also on the agenda for the Public Health Committee, where it was also voted down. The general consensus from legislators was further discussion is still needed on the issue.
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