By BarbaraOrmsby

Ridley Township commissioners took action at their March meeting last week to make all parks and athletic fields in the township 100 percent tobacco free, effective immediately.

Ridley joins a host of other communities to enact similar legislation, under the guidance of the “Young Lungs at Play” program.

“Tobacco-free parks provide children with a clean and healthy place to play, as discarded tobacco waste makes parks and playgrounds look dirty and uninviting, as well as costly to cleanup,” said Commissioner Tom Donahue, who spearheaded the ban over the past month.

Donahue quoted from EPA reports that classify secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen, a substance known to cause cancer or serious illness, including asthma, respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.

“Second hand smoke has been estimated to result in at least 38,000 deaths in the United States, and over one million illnesses in children,” Donahue said.

The no-cost, tobacco-free “Youngs Lungs at Play” program is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is administered by the Health Promotion Council.

Among the other municipalities in the county participating in the program are Glenolden, Swarthmore, Upper Darby Township and school district, Darby Borough, Concord, Sharon Hill, Ridley Park and Eddystone.

The program provides free metal signs for recreation areas that designate them as tobacco-free areas.

In another matter, commissioners gave an update on the library expansion with construction slated to start later this spring. The estimated cost of the addition is about $3 million. The new 15,000-square-foot facility will be built at the southwest end of the township administration building. It will have its own entrance with the adult and reference libraries, and children’s library all on the same level.

The current library will be converted into additional space for the code and police departments as well as other township administrative offices.

Before the business part of the meeting got underway, a swearing-in ceremony took place to mark the promotion of two veteran police officers to the rank of sergeant. Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gregory Mallon administered the oath of office to Michael Bongiorno and Edmund Kienzle

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