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City Council to consider smoking ban at parks

SALISBURY — Should the city ban smoking at parks and ball fields?
Share your opinion during a public hearing at the City Council meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
City Council will consider the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Advisory Board’s proposal to ban smoking and the use of other tobacco products at all Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department playgrounds and buildings, including the ball fields and lake at Salisbury Community Park on Hurley School Road.
If the ban passes, Salisbury would be among about a dozen cities and counties in North Carolina to prohibit cigarettes, cigars and snuff from public parks. Salisbury has 28 park properties and more than five miles of greenway.
According to a 2010 survey, 73 percent of Rowan County residents said they want smoke-free playgrounds and 79 percent said they do not smoke, according to Amy Smith, advisory board co-chair and a health education specialist for the Rowan County Health Department.
The four leading causes of death in Rowan County — heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease and chronic lower respiratory disease — are all related to smoking, Smith told council members last month.
Smith said the tobacco ban would prevent children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, eliminate cigarette butt litter and improve economic development. Businesses consider a community’s health and quality of life when considering relocating or expanding, she said.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda:
• City Council also will hold a public hearing on an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment Grant application.
Staff is applying for up to $400,000 for a 2014 EPA community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grant. Council members want to hear from residents about the city’s efforts to address potentially contaminated sites.
The grant requires a community outreach effort to increase awareness and gain public support for the identification, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields.
• City Council will consider adopting a resolution of support and commitment to work with the Rowan County Board of Commissioners on projects that benefit all citizens.
Resident GeoRene Jones requested the resolution last month. She is leading an effort to convince county commissioners to work with the leaders of all 10 towns and cities in Rowan to develop a master strategic plan for the Salisbury Mall, which the county recently purchased.
• City Council will recognize employees of Salisbury-Rowan Utilities for receiving the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ Platinum 9 and Gold Peak Performance Awards for 2012 and the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award for 2012.
The city’s water treatment plant was one of 49 in the state to be honored for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards for 2012. The N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award is given by the N.C. Division of Water Resources- Public Water Supply section.
The award recognizes systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity and microbial removal, which are two important factors in determining drinking water quality. Water treatment plant operation manager Keith Bowersox will accept the award. Salisbury-Rowan Utilities received the Platinum 9 Award in recognition of nine consecutive years of 100 percent permit compliance. Seven of nearly 300 facilities in the state received a Platinum Award for 2012.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations Manager Martin Trexler will accept the award.
Salisbury-Rowan Utilities also received the Gold Award for the Second Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Gold Award recognizes facilities that have achieved 100 percent compliance with their permit for an entire calendar year.
This award will be presented to senior wastewater treatment plant operators Charles Wood and James Barringer.
• Mayor Paul Woodson will proclaim Jan. 20 as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
• City Council will ratify a lease between Guitars USA owners Chris Gregg and David Brown and the city for the Zimmerman Building, located at 110 North Main Street.
The city bought the Zimmerman Building in 1989 but no longer needed the property after construction of the Salisbury Customer Service Center. The building has been for sale for two years.
Guitars USA owners signed a three-year lease for $2,000 a month and paid to upfit the building.
The amount of the lease will increase by 4 percent each year, and anticipated income over the life of the lease of more than $75,000.
• City Council will hear goal presentations from the Community Appearance Commission, Greenway Committee, Human Relations Council and Salisbury Tourism and Cultural Development Commission.
• City Manager Doug Paris’ comments.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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