Compromise Plan to Place No Smoking Signs at Town Recreation Areas

Where there’s smoke, there won’t be Derry children, thanks to a concerned mother and Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau.

At the Jan. 22 Council meeting, Budreau reported on a piece of old business, when Nicole Bump, a Derry mother of young children, expressed concern about smoking at town parks and playgrounds. The Town Council had discussed her request, and Budreau met with Public Works Director Mike Fowler and Parks and Recreation Director Eric Bodenrader regarding a solution.

Budreau said in his opinion, the best course of action would be to replicate the policy used at the town buildings. All town-owned buildings have a sign mandating no smoking within 25 feet, he said. He proposed expanding that signage to the following recreational areas:

• The playgrounds at Hood Park, Alexander-Carr Park, Don Ball Park, and near the tennis courts, plus the splash pad at Don Ball Park;

• The deck at the Alexander-Carr Lodge;

• The concession stands at Hood Park, Don Ball Park, the O’Hara recreation area, and Gallien’s Beach;

• The waterfront at Hood Park and Gallien’s Beach; and

• The pavilion and patio at Don Ball Park.

In addition, Budreau said, his proposal calls for designated “smoking areas” at Don Ball and Hood parks and Gallien’s Beach.

Budreau said he’s seen a change in the attitude toward smoking over 30 years. Most smokers, he said, are courteous when asked to cease or move. He said Bodenrader had reported very few complaints about uncooperative smokers in town.

Budreau said his plan would keep the town from having to enact a legally-binding “no smoking” ordinance. “From the staff perspective, that would be difficult to enforce,” he said. And in his previous experience, including with the Municipal Center, he’s found that asking people not to smoke is just as effective.

“Let’s try this, the Council can take a wait-and-see attitude, and we can achieve the goal with a minimum of disruption,” Budreau said.

The Council agreed by consensus to authorize Budreau to put the signs up this spring, and to revisit the issue if his plan didn’t work.

“This plan is an effort to reach a courteous compromise,” Budreau said.