Smoking banned in city’s tallest buildingPublished 9:47am Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The largest housing complex owned and operated by the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority has gone smoke-free.
Starting Aug. 1, people living in Shady Oaks, 800 S. Fourth Ave., can no longer smoke in their apartments or in common areas. Tenants now must go outside if they want to light up a cigarette.
“For the most part, it’s been pretty positive,” said Jon Ford, director of the HRA. “We had just a handful, maybe three or four people who said they were moving.”
Shady Oaks has 126 units, of which 114 are currently occupied.
It is the tallest building in Albert Lea.
The action was unanimously approved by the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority board. Ford said the board had been considering it for at least a year, and it did not pass without some discussion. He noted there was some question about individual rights.
He said the board passed the policy first for the health of the tenants. He said they also looked at the damage that smoking does to the mechanical systems in the building.
“It costs twice as much to turn a unit that’s been smoked in versus one that has not been smoked in,” he said.
Alice Englin, project coordinator for Freeborn County Partners in Prevention, said the coalition is in support of the new measure.
It is the group’s mission to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by youth and over time adults in Freeborn County through community partnerships.