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It Takes a Village to Breath Fresh Air

“It has gone better than expected,” explains Eric Boline, property manager at Villages at Essex Park. The apartment complex celebrated the one year anniversary since the property went smoke-free in 2012 with the help of the Statewide Health Improvement Program.

There to help celebrate was Kelly Corbin, Community Health Specialist with Olmsted County Public Health and Edward Erhlinger, Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health. Villages decided to go smoke-free after they found that 79 percent of Olmsted residents that live in rentals would prefer to live in a smoke-free building. The policy also fits well with the “Med City” culture—a city dedicated to good health—that now Rochester has one more apartment complex to be excited about.

“We went to the first training in March and we got started right away in July,” Boline shares about attending a SHIP training on how to go smoke-free in apartments. While it is too soon to evaluate the financial changes for Villages, Boline explains that it already smells and feels cleaner around the complex.

Villages is also close to a nearby community garden and underwent large renovations, which include a new swimming pool, fitness center and gathering area for families and friends.

Boline provides some advice for future apartment complexes that plan to go smoke-free. “One of the lessons I learned through this process was to come up with a plan to prepare for any possible scenarios and to make sure the entire staff is on the same page.”
Because of this success, the property management company is looking at other properties around the state—and county—that can also be smoke free.

Plus, Boline, once a smoker, has now quit as well.

All of which means that “Med City,” the residents at Essex Park, and Boline are now about clean air and better health.

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Updated Monday, March 24, 2014 at 04:28PM