Smoking and litter concerns at Palatine Park

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Palatine Park in Fairmont is a popular spot in the summer for families to enjoy free concerts, festivals, and the water. But lately, many are concerned about litter and the number of cigarettes scattered around the park.

Emmy Heywood and her kids enjoy coming to playground area, but she said smoking is a concern.

"My mother grew up in a household of smokers and she has had respiratory problems her whole life even though she was never a smoker. Obviously, people have the right to smoke, but in a place that's specifically for children, I don't think it's wise to allow the community when there is so many other places that you could smoke," said Emmy Heywood.

There are signs posted around the park warning people to not bring any dogs, bikes, or skateboards. However, there are no signs against smoking or any kind of enforcement.

Others in the park said they have noticed an increase in garbage and cigarettes, but they said there should be a compromise.

"I think they should have a designated smoking area with a place to put the cigarette buds. Pretty soon you start stepping on everyone's rights about everything," said Lori Williams.

Joseph Blackshire is a smoker and he enjoys visiting the park. He said that liberty should not not be taken away from him, but he said he always throws his garbage away and agrees that the litter problem is getting worse.

"There is no thing that says you cannot smoke in this park," said Blackshire.

Jessica West also enjoys going to Palatine Park. She's say she proud to see it grow and that it's truly an asset to the community. She said she praises the work and events put on by John Provins and the County Commission. However, she has also noticed an increase in litter.

"As I was attending an event with my 2-year-old this past weekend, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of cigarettes scattered throughout the park and there have been reports of needles found in the parking area. We all need to pitch in to keep not only the park clean, but the entire town clean. It is everyone's responsibility to pick up after ourselves, unfortunately not everyone thinks that way, so we need to go a little above and beyond to pick up after others who don't find the appearance and cleanliness of our town important," said West.

West has also discussed forming a community clean-up group.

The County Commission said they are reaching out to city officials to find out if there is any kind of current regulations. 5 News also reached out to city officials, but we have not heard anything back yet.