Rock Hill leaders could consider smoking ban in city parks

Could smoking be banned in Rock Hill parks?

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Rock Hill city leaders could soon consider banning smoking in city parks.

A previous attempt stalled with a 3-3 vote by council members in 2015. The topic was brought up again at the most recent meeting. A councilwoman reported receiving complaints from people about smoking, and wants to revisit the issue.

WBTV talked to City Councilwoman Sandra Oborokumo by phone Monday. Oborokumo said she was sick and was unable to attend the meeting when the vote was held last year.

The councilwoman is hopeful the city can find some middle ground, but said she would consider supporting a smoking ban.

At Cherry Park, several folks had heard about the smoking ban and had plenty of opinions.

"Just the other day, we were here and you could smell it," said Darra Dane Cothran.

Cothran was with her two little ones and said they walk to the park two or three times a week. There have been a few occasions where she said she's had to move her children to get away from someone smoking.

"It's gross. Here I am with my little kids and there's smoke, and it smells awful, and I don't want them around it," Cothran said.

WBTV found some who were smoking at Cherry Park. All of them said they try to be conscious about smoking near children and away from others. They were not happy to hear they could be forced to put out their cigarettes.

"I don't see nothing wrong with it, as long as there's a designated area, away from kids," said Damion Gilfillan

It's unclear if city leaders would allow an area for smokers at parks. Several of the people with Gilfillan also smoked and hoped council members would allow them a place to have a cigarette.

"Restaurants I kind of understand, being considerate of everybody else, but if you're outside, away from people, I don't see what the problem is," Gilfillan said.

Joe Dernovshek was sitting on a park bench waiting for his family, and said he was a former smoker. He said he understands the argument from both sides, but admits he has seen smoking in the park.

"I've seen people come down this walkway with a cigarette in their mouth, and I think how the heck are you smoking a cigarette and walking at the same time? It don't make much sense anyhow," Dernovshek laughed.

It's possible that city leaders could discuss a smoking ban at their next meeting in June.

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