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Ossining Board to Consider Smoking Ban in Parks

OSSINING, N.Y. – The Town of Ossining is set to consider a ban on smoking in area parks. Town officials said it’s not about limiting smokers’ rights, but protecting the youth of the town.

The town board is scheduled to host a public hearing on the issue during the board’s regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Birdsall Fagan Police/Court Facility on 88 Spring St. The legislation in front of the board does not prohibit smoking in all areas of town parks, but adds several limitations. If the measure is adopted, smoking would be banned in playground and picnic areas, inside facilities and within 50 feet of any facility entrance, all athletic fields and fenced areas of the Dog Park at Cedar Lane Park, according to town documents.

“We’re not saying you can’t smoke anywhere in the parks and we’re going to try to have a designated area for smokers in the park too,” said Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly, who added she’s a non-smoker. “We’re not trying to take anyone’s constitutional rights to smoke. What we’re trying to do is protect our young people and others in the town. People should be able to go to a park and not have to be around someone who smokes.”

Donnelly said the idea came from the town’s recreation advisory board and that the advisory board is unanimously in favor of the proposed resolution.

“I’m in complete favor of doing it,” Donnelly said. “The recreation advisory board asked the town and village to move forward with this a year ago and it’s overdue.”

Donnelly said she has not heard from residents who oppose the idea, but said Tuesday that she would be open to listen to opposing viewpoints.

“I haven’t heard any negative reaction from it,” she said. “I think with the more and more information that we’re getting out about second-hand smoke, that this is appropriate.”

Henry Atterbury, the town’s recreation superintendent, said he’s in full support of the town passing the resolution.

“The recreation advisory board fully supports this action to protect the health of the youth of Ossining and has been promoting this action for several years,” Atterbury said in an emailed statement.

The Town of Ossining maintains roughly 130 acres of park land, according to the town's website . The town's parks include Ryder Park, Gerlach Park, Veterans Park, Louis Engel Waterfront Park, Buck Johnson Park and Cedar Lane Park.

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