Smoke out? Parks may ban tobacco

By on May 2, 2012

By: KIMBERLY MARSELAS Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Denver Borough is exploring the possibility of banning tobacco in its public parks and recreational areas.

At a meeting Monday night, council members discussed a potential policy that would prohibit smoking and the use of chewing tobacco at Denver Memorial Park as well as around the recreation center, Bon View Linear Park and other outdoor facilities. Borough manager Mike Hession said the borough’s recreation board recently discussed the topic, following a clean up of the recreation center that included removing cigarette butts.

"The question is, ‘Is there a way of making our facilities as healthy as possible?’ " Hession said. "It’s not unprecedented."

Hession presented council members with information about similar policies recently enacted in Mountville and Lancaster City. Smoking is also already prohibited at the Denver Pool and violators are asked to leave.

Council members questioned how a broader policy would be enforced.

"I think there should be some kind of teeth in it," said member Michael Cohick.

Hession said he will seek further input from local police as well as the recreation board, the park association and the fair committee-which uses public facilities for its events.

In other news, council adopted a policy governing use of its meeting room by the public. The new policy gives organizations affiliated with the borough priority, but also allows use by local non-profit groups with civic, fraternal, religious, educational or recreational missions. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the policy includes a list of rules.

Council also approved the sale of a building at 349 Main Street, which was most recently a brew house and bistro. The borough sold the property to Brian and Carol Hollinger, who met the minimum bid of $140,000. The borough originally bought the property as part of a downtown reinvestment initiative. The property was sold as-is and is expected to settle on May 24.

Hession also updated council on an April 24 meeting at which local fire companies discussed concerns and the possibility of developing a regional service.

"Manpower, funding, possible consolidation, sharing of equipment: those kinds of things were all discussed," he said.

Hession said any discussion of a cooperative effort between the seven volunteer departments operating in the Cocalico area would come from the companies themselves, rather than because of a government mandate.

"Come to us with a plan," said council member Michael Gensemer. "We’ll help you work it out."

Denver Fire Company has recently approached the borough to ask about implementing a fire tax; Hession provided council with a similar tax ordinance in place in East Petersburg. Revenues from the tax are used to purchase trucks and equipment as well as regular operating costs. The tax in Denver would likely replace annual volunteer fund drives. More DENVER, page A10

About Ephrata Review