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Park visitors weigh in on new anti-tobacco ordinance
by Savannah Borders
August 07, 2014 10:18 AM | 1302 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Aruna Melvin
Aruna Melvin
Greg Diamond
Greg Diamond
Patrick Cornell
Patrick Cornell
Nearly two months after the Sandy Springs City Council approved a ban on tobacco use in city parks, three visitors interviewed last week at one local park said they are in favor of the new ordinance. All three said they did not know it existed.

The ban, approved June 3, not only covers smoking but also the use of electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.

“Our parks are public spaces. Everyone, in particular our children, should have the opportunity to enjoy these outdoor, natural areas without worry of taking in second-hand smoke,” Mayor Rusty Paul said in a news release.

The Neighbor interviewed three visitors in Hammond Park last week.

Aruna Melvin, a mother who frequently visits the park, supports the anti-tobacco ordinance. She lives in the Smyrna area, but visits the park with her son and her mother. Melvin said the ordinance helps make the park a better place.

“[It’s] not only just for the kids,” she said. “You don’t smell tobacco, it helps people with allergies. ... When we come to the park and someone is smoking and we are inhaling it, it’s not good.”

Patrick Cornell of the North Druid Hills area, one of a group of four men who play basketball at Hammond Park weekly, also supports the ordinance. Cornell said he had no idea about the new policy.

“I am absolutely for something like that,” he said. “Where I come from, everything like that has been banned in bars, restaurants and parks and it hasn’t really deterred anyone from coming. If anything, it has done the opposite.”

One of Cornell’s friends noticed the lack of signage for the new rule.

“I don’t see a single sign up here. You’d think there’d be a sign up somewhere,” said Greg Diamond of Smyrna.

Ronnie Young Sr., director of the city’s recreation and parks department, said signs will be posted at Sandy Springs’ 10 park facilities by Sept. 1.

“Signs are being manufactured right now that will be added to our park rules signs,” he said. “They will say that this is a no-smoking and no-tobacco area."
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