(02/27/14) - A pilot policy was presented to the Parks and Rec Board earlier
Thursday that would ban smoking at Crossroads Village.
Park officials came up with the proposal, following a lengthy study that included a 1,000 person survey. Seventy-seven percent of those who responded turned thumbs down on smoking.
"Some of the other parks throughout the state are banning smoking in the entire facility, some of them are just restricting it to playground where you have children that would be most impacted by the second-hand smoke," said Joe Krapohl, Pres. Genesee Co. Parks and Rec.
Among the concerns raised over the policy - the potential lost income.
More than 100,000 people visited Crossroads last year - but even with those numbers, Commissioner Jeff Wright labeled the revenue margin as "razor thin".
"The parks are there to serve all the people, whether they smoke or don't smoke. We don't want to reduce the amount of people that utilize the parks," he said.
Ultimately, the board voted 7-2 in favor of the policy - with the stipulation that two areas are set aside to accommodate those who do smoke.
"I think by designating smoking areas within Crossroads Village, that's a good compromise. It allows those who choose to smoke an area to do that and eliminates those who are standing in line at an attraction being exposed the smokers," Krapohl said.
The policy now goes into effect for the rest of 2014 and will be revisited again in 2015.
"Hopefully, it's a good compromise and our public will understand why we did it and accept our policy and we'll see how it goes," Krapohl said.
Pending that review, officials could discuss expanding it to cover other county parks.
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