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Henderson residents to have say on going smoke-free in downtown

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
July 5, 2012 at 10 p.m.


HENDERSON - The city's business and civic leaders plan to publicly discuss the pros and cons of a smoke-free downtown before moving forward with action.

Claudia Morgan-Gray, chairwoman of the Henderson Main Street Advisory Board, said the board has been asked to consider a request from several merchants to make the downtown area smoke free.

The board had asked to add the proposal to its agenda, but because of a mix-up, it was instead listed on this past week's Henderson City Council agenda.

"We're just in the very preliminary stages of looking at this proposal," Morgan-Gray said. "We want to give plenty of people time to discuss why they're either in favor of it or against it before we bring it before the city council - or even vote as a board whether or not it's something we want to present to the council."

Making the historical downtown area smoke-free would have health benefits and would also be likely to reduce litter in the area, she said.

However, several downtown merchants provide outside smoking areas for their employees or customers, and their wishes also would have to be taken into consideration, she said.

"Obviously we'd like to do what we can to make downtown a healthier, more pleasant place," Morgan-Gray said. "However, we don't want to hurt the businesses there, which might be an unintended consequence of placing too many restrictions on what kinds of activities people can participate in while downtown."

The mix up was most likely due to the fact that the longtime Henderson city secretary and former coordinator of the Main Street Committee recently retired, she said. The council tabled the agenda item at the request of the Main Street Advisory Board.

"This is something the Main Street Advisory Board will be talking about during our upcoming meetings, but we want Henderson residents to understand we're a long way from presenting a proposal to the city council," Morgan-Gray said.

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