City Considering Smoking Ban At City Parks

January 14, 2014
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No Smoking signs have been posted at Liberty Park for three years, however an ordinance is not in place.

“No Smoking” signs have been posted at Liberty Park for three years, however an ordinance is not in place.

Batesville officials are considering a measure to ban smoking in city parks.

The proposal by the Batesville Parks and Recreation Board was brought up during the city council meeting Monday evening.

If the ordinance is passed, smoking would not be allowed at Liberty Park, South St. Park, Brum Woods, the Batesville Ballplex, or the Bill Gillespie Soccer Park. There has been signage posted at the park against smoking for three years, however, an ordinance to ban smoking is currently not in place.

While city council members are in agreement that a smoking ban for the pavilion would be effective against second-hand smoke, some said the measure is too extensive.

“I think we are getting carried away. I would love to see [smoking banned] in the pavilion,” said Council member Bob Narwold. “I don’t smoke. I don’t like to be around smoke and I have sense enough that if someone is smoking to walk away.”

If the smoking ban is passed, complaints would be handled by law enforcement. Narwold and Council member Beth Myers both expressed concern over police being utilized for that type of violation.

Myers remarked, “To start calling and have a police officer dispatched because we have an ordinance that now says you can’t smoke in the park, or one of the park areas, to me is not a very good use of police time.”

Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt indicated that it may be less of a law enforcement issue and more of a health concern.

“I don’t think it’s a case that if the ordinance is passed that we will be sitting out there waiting to catch somebody,” Holt explained.

Batesville Park Board President Bob Fitzpatrick informed council that he hasn’t received any feedback from citizens regarding the proposal. Mayor Rick Fledderman decided to table the proposal and more discussions will be held.

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