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North Tonawanda bans smoking in public parks; enters into agreement on Empire State Trail Project

Fri, Dec 4th 2020 05:10 pm

By Michael DePietro

Visitors to North Tonawanda parks will be able to breathe a little easier as a recent resolution has banned smoking throughout numerous city parks.

The resolution clarifies that, “Smoking a cigarette, pipe, cigar, electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, vape pen any cartridge or other component of the device or related product or any other matter of substance which contains tobacco, nicotine, any illegal substance or any other substance that is similar shall be prohibited.” The law will be in effect at all times on the grounds of North Tonawanda City Parks.

The resolution cited a number of overall benefits for the ban, including a reduction in health risks from exposure to secondhand smoke and/or e-cigarette aerosol, especially among children and those with chronic conditions. It also notes environmental impacts by protecting against litter and fires, while helping to preserve green spaces and animal habitats.

This ban is also expected to save the city money by decreasing cleanup costs. The resolution notes cigarette butts contribute to one-third of all litter collected.

On Tuesday, the Common Council approved a resolution to order a total of 77 “No Smoking/Vaping” signs to inform and remind park guests of the new regulations. The signs come at no cost to the city and will be covered by CHANT (Community Health Alliance of North Tonawanda) and the Tobacco Free Coalition of Erie and Niagara County.

Signs will be placed on the property entrances at an appropriate location and public restrooms.

Alderman-at-Large Robert Pecoraro, who helped spearhead the initiative, called the ban a “good starting point.” He said he believed the ban should be implemented throughout Niagara County. Peccoraro also said the move was important to help curb smoking habits in future generations.

“There’s a lot of people out there who think our youth of today don’t really look up to adults and really follow them, but they do,” Pecoraro said. “So, I was old-school (and) really think that we have to set the example and move forward with that, and (the two coalitions) applauded (the council’s) efforts to do that.”

The resolution was passed with unanimous support from council members last month.

DOT Bike Path Connection

City officials entered into an intermunicipal agreement with the City of Tonawanda for work relating to the New York State Department of Transportation bike path connection to the Empire State Trail Project.

This will include bike lane pavement markings installed on Renaissance Bridge between the cities of North Tonawanda and Tonawanda.

City Engineer Chelsea Spahr said the intermunicipal agreement is needed as part of the grant funding.

The project is financed by NYSDOT, East Hill Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and the Niagara River Greenway Fund Committee. Funds will go to the construction of a new paved bike/pedestrian trail between the existing Riverwalk Trail and the Empire State Trail, resurfacing the existing trail from the southern terminus to Gratwick Park, and landscaping enhancements along the entire trail.

The Empire State Trail was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017 as a 750-mile-long stretch of bicycle and hiking trail that will span New York, from Buffalo to Albany, and from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain valleys to Canada.

The work is scheduled to occur between the months of April and October 2021. The bike path connection is expected to have a useful life of 20 years from the expected date of completion. The intermunicipal agreement will have a 20-year term to coincide with that expectancy.

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