Superior is considering a ban on smoking in city parks.
The Parks & Recreation Committee would like to hear more from the public before moving ahead with the ban.
Smoking is already prohibited at the dog park off Wyoming Avenue because of safety concerns.
“It’s becoming more and more common to see the restriction for it as opposed to being allowed,” said Councilor Brent Fennessey, who brought the proposal to the commission. He said parks are designed to attract youth and it’s important to make policy to make that space a little more clean and pleasant.
Exactly what that ban would look like has yet to be determined.
Commissioner Tom Wondolkowski expressed concern about a ban on Barker’s Island because of the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival, which draws thousands to event each year.
A ban could prevent smokers from lighting up at the beach and the festival park on Barker’s Island.
“I would really be sad to hear that dragon boats would object,” said Pat McKone of the American Lung Association. “That’s a fundraiser for research. I would be disappointed.”
Fennessey said if the city moves forward with a ban on smoking, he’d recommend it address vaping as well.
Charmaine Swan of the American Lung Association provided the committee with a model ordinance for outdoor recreational areas tobacco-free policy.
“I would have a hard time supporting anti-smoking in parks,” Wondolkowski said. “Billings Park is big enough. You know what? Smokers pay taxes, too.”
Commissioner Gene Rosberg said he’s never smoked and has picked up many cigarette butts in his lifetime, but he didn’t have a problem with smokers in some public venues.
“I just don’t think we should be stopping someone walking down the Millennium Trail by themselves and smoking a cigarette,” Rosberg said. “I mean outside, outdoors. I hate it when they throw them on the ground … it drives me crazy. I’d be embarrassed myself to say, ‘Hey, you can’t smoke here.’”
Commission chairman Keith Kern said he would like to hear more from the public before the city moves ahead with a smoking ban in city-owned public spaces.
The Commission agreed to discuss the issue at their next scheduled meeting Aug. 22.