By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Some parts of town parks and beaches will be declared off limits to smokers beginning this spring. But those who ignore the signs won’t face penalties.
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau announced “No Smoking” signs will be posted in areas where children and families gather.
The signs will say smoking is not allowed within 25 feet of playgrounds at Hood Park and Don Ball Park, the Splashpad at Don Ball Park, Gallien’s Beach and the Hood Park waterfront and the pavilion and deck area at Alexander-Carr Park.
Budreau said placing signs does not require an official, anti-smoking town ordinance, which would be difficult to enforce. That means the smoking ban would not be legally binding. But Budreau believes the signs will be an effective deterrent.
Budreau said there will be designated areas where smoking will be permitted.
The issue arose when resident Nicole Bump appeared before the Town Council last fall to ask councilors to consider making areas in Derry parks smoke-free zones.
She said she often takes her children to play at Hood or Don Ball and found people smoking near the playground equipment.
Budreau said he met with the Recreation and Public Works departments to come up with a suitable solution.
He called the signs a good compromise that will protect the rights of both smokers and nonsmokers.
“We’re not trying to ban smoking from all town property,” Budreau said. “It’s just an effort to reach a courteous compromise. Children have less of a choice, but smokers and nonsmokers can make choices.”