By Christine Bryant
Reynoldsburg officials are considering an ordinance that would create tobacco-free zones in the city’s parks.
The move comes after several residents expressed concern over second-hand smoke, said Dan Skinner, council member and chair of the Community Development Committee.
“The ordinance proposal came about due to a number of citizen complaints about smoking in the park and at community activities and events,” Skinner said.
The ordinance proposal is still in the beginning stages and is being discussed in the Community Development Committee.
“One proposal has been to exclude smoking in the parks and other city property, except for specific designated smoking zones, such as a parking lot,” Skinner said.
At the most recent Community Development Committee meeting held prior to the Sept. 25 council meeting, Councilman Chris Long said the city should structure any created ordinance or update in a way that makes sense and also becomes enforceable, but fair, to both sides.
This includes the possibility of adding a provision that would allow smoking in the parking lot areas, except when there is an organized event such as a food truck festival or the Tomato Festival. Then, the parking lot would become a no-smoking area.
“It keeps it away from the kids and the families for movie nights, ball diamonds, everything else, but at the same time allows for a provision for those who still do smoke in our community,” Long said.
Skinner said the next step is for the Community Development Committee to agree upon a proposed ordinance, approve it and send it to City Council for readings and a final vote.
“It would go into effect 30 days after the date it was passed,” he said.
Should the ordinance pass, city officials also will discuss types of outreach methods to notify the community about the new ordinance, including social media and new signage.
In other news, city council is reviewing legislation that would begin the survey, design and bidding for Baldwin Road improvements scheduled for 2018.
This project, which is part of the city’s 2018 Street Program, includes reconstruction of the roadway pavement section and curbs from the intersection with Woodsedge Drive to the school property. The roadway improvements will extend into Woodsedge Drive, both on the east and west sides of Baldwin Road, said Bill Sampson, director of public service.
The project also will include ADA ramp improvements at the intersections, storm sewer improvements on Woodsedge Drive east of Baldwin, and replacing an aged and deteriorated water main within the limits of roadway work, Sampson said. The aging water main has resulted in seven breaks since 2001, Sampson said.
Work is estimated to begin late spring or early summer after school, he said.