Readers’ Views

Smoking off the property at HRA

To the Editor:

If you drive around the perimeter of Friendship Village (500 Home Street) in Fairmont, day or night, you might be surprised to see people standing out in the parking lot or in the street itself.

Some of these people might be in wheelchairs. Some might be with walkers or using a cane. Some are over eighty years old.

The reason they stand outside, summer and winter, is because they want to smoke. Up until one year ago, residents of Friendship Village could not smoke in their apartment (a HUD rule) but were allowed to smoke on the Friendship Village property, where there might be a bench and some shelter from the elements.

But the five member board of Commissioners of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), that oversees the operation off Friendship Village, ruled that smoking would NOT be allowed anywhere on the HRA property.

After appealing to board members to reverse their decision that prevents smoking on the property, I have written this letter to the residents of Fairmont and to the city, in the hope that some publicity on this issue might encourage board members to allow smokers to return to smoke on the property.

It’s cruel to force people out onto the streets to smoke. And it is dangerous. Many a night, I have returned from work and not seen an individual out in the street until I was right near them. The smokers are in danger by the enforcement of this rule. Board members are: Mike Brau, Paul Determan, Debra Goerndt, Ron Kopischke and Clara Mosloski (from city website). Thank you for your time and consideration.

Peter Engstrom



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