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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Aquatic Center to feature new smoking area

  • Smokers who visit the Hannibal Aquatic Center this summer will have to leave the facility’s fenced-in confines before lighting up. The Park Board recently voted to move the designated smoking area from near the concessions area to a sheltered area behind the pool.
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  • Smokers who visit the Hannibal Aquatic Center this summer will have to leave the facility’s fenced-in confines before lighting up. The Park Board recently voted to move the designated smoking area from near the concessions area to a sheltered area behind the pool.
    “It’s a win-win for both sides,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department. “People who want to smoke don’t have to stand out in the sun. The people in the concession stand don’t have to worry about smoke.”
    Because smokers will have to exit the pool area, a stamp system will be implemented that will allow them to re-enter without having to pay again.
    “Anybody at the pool who wants to smoke will get a stamp, then go smoke, show their stamp and get back in,” said Dorian. “I’ve seen it at other facilities. It shouldn’t be too big of an inconvenience.”
    Having smokers exit the front of the Aquatic Center, rather than through a gate at the rear of the pool, makes sense staffing-wise, according to the parks director.
    “We’d have to have more staffing for that (manning a rear gate). This is the best from an operational standpoint,” said Dorian.
    Dorian doesn’t believe a large number of individuals will be impacted.
    “I don’t think it’s an overwhelming amount of people, but there are a handful of people that do smoke that come to the pool,” he said.
    The Park Board was asked to consider the change after a few concerns were voiced in 2013.
    “We did have some complaints last year, but nothing major, no big arguments, no big fights. We did have some moms say there’s no other place for their kids to eat concessions without smoke coming over,” said Dorian. “The concession stand area is a small area and since we don’t allow food or drinks anywhere else in the pool, they couldn’t escape the smoke.”
    Implementing changes at the Aquatic Center in regard to smoking has been a point of discussion since a proposition limiting smoking in certain public spaces was approved by Hannibal voters in April 2012.
    “Since the smoking ban was enacted we’d talked about doing it, but with as busy as it has been, it got left on the wayside. However, after a couple of suggestions from the public during the pool season last year we said we would bring it up during the wintertime with the Park Board and let the Park Board vote,” said Dorian.
    Page 2 of 2 - Even before the 2012 vote, the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center had already been designated a smoke-free zone. In February 2010, the City Council supported a recommendation from the Park Board and approved enacting a smoking ban in the facility for all public and private events. The measure took effect on July 1 of that year.
    According to Dorian, the no-smoking guidelines are essentially a non-issue any more at the downtown rec center.
    “It’s been that way for several years now and we very rarely ever have an issue. I’ve had no (smoking-related) issues brought to me in probably the last two years. I’ve not heard of anybody being kicked out (because they were smoking),” he said. “With it (smoking limitations) going city-wide I think everyone has kind of accepted that’s how it’s going to be.”
     
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