Red Hook considers smoking ban in town parks

Consensus is that

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In response to the new Dutchess County smoking ban in public parks, the Red Hook Rec Commission has begun exploring whether to do the same in the town’s public parks.

The current town policy consists of signs requesting respectful and courteous behavior from smokers. And Councilman Harry Colgan told the Red Hook Town Board at its meeting July 10. that “there have not been issues with the rule as it exists now.”

Attempts to completely ban smoking have generally resulted in failure, he added. And, he said, the general opinion of the Rec Commission at this time is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Councilwoman Brenda Cagle suggested getting input from the public, a sentiment that Colgan supported.

“It’s something we’d like to hear from the public about,” he said.

Should the town decide it needs a smoking ban, Colgan said there would need to be a law outlawing smoking in the Rec Park.

“We do not have such a law now,” he said. “We have an informal rule set by the Rec Commission.”

Councilman James Ross agreed with the Rec Commission’s current stance. “I am not a believer in passing laws to try and control behavior,” he said. “You ask that people respect others.”

The county ban on smoking in all its public parks went into effect July 9. Anyone wishing to comment on the town park smoking policy can send a letter to the town board via the town clerk at smccann@redhook.org or 7340 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY 12571.

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