Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 20, 2012

Complaint prompts smoking ban in Lincolnshire Park

TAZEWELL, Va. — Citizen complaints have prompted the first-ever smoking ban in a Tazewell County park.

Tazewell Town Manager Todd Day said the town council voted unanimously Thursday night to ban smoking in Lincolnshire Park following several complaints from residents.

“We already had a smoking ban in the pool area, and citizens approached the board asking to ban it throughout the park,” Day said. “A lot of people have complained about the smoking and cigarette butts littering the park. We wanted to make the park more family friendly. A lot of parents told us they didn’t feel like taking their kids out in the park and complained about the smoking.”

Facilities at Lincolnshire Park include a 21-acre lake with boating facilities, four tennis courts, a basketball court, sand volleyball court, three picnic shelters, two softball fields, a swimming pool and playground.

Day said the town is in the process of erecting “no smoking” signs in the park.

“We have ordered some signs and will be putting them up,” Day said. “We are just going to ask people to refrain from smoking if we see them doing it. I’m not aware of any other smoking bans in local parks. I don’t know of any smoking bans in any parks in the county. There wasn’t really any opposition to it at the meeting. It was pretty unanimous that the public agreed with it. Everyone all seemed to agree.”

However, Tazewell resident Ed Killen said he is opposed to the ban.

“They passed it without having the ordinance published,” Killen said. “They have a lot of sports complexes and a huge lake in the park, and I think banning smoking in the park is absolutely silly. I can see them banning it in the stands and dugouts of the ball fields, but not in the open spaces and picnic shelters.”

Killen said he doesn’t believe the town council has the right to ban smoking in public places like the park.

“They shouldn’t be able to tell us where we can and cannot smoke,” he said. “I am tired of fighting with this town. I have lived here 40 years and now they’re trying to change everything. I don’t understand why they have to change this just because one person complained.”

Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer said he did not believe there were any other parks in the county where smoking was banned. Spencer said, to his knowledge, the only smoking ban in the county is the Virginia-wide smoking ban in certain work places, bars and restaurants.

Issued in March 2009, the bill bans smoking in facilities including hospital emergency rooms, schools, prisons and public restrooms in government buildings.   

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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