City Parks Smoking Ban Fails - The Mena Star: News

City Parks Smoking Ban Fails

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Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 2:13 pm

The Mena City Council Parks Committee met today to discuss the issue of smoking in city parks. Council member Dwight Douglas proposed that smoking be banned in all city parks due to reasons such as the possibility of the danger of second-hand smoke, that certain individuals and families found the smoke smell offensive and the fact that smokers were littering the parks with cigarette filters (butts). Overlooked filters not picked up before the Parks Department mows shreds the litter and makes a larger mess.

Debates and discussions ensued between members of the Committee, Parks Department and Mena Police Department. Comments were made on the increase of filters being found around the parks. Detective Brandon Martin mentioned that the signage for the designated smoking areas was not totally obvious, which makes it difficult for the police to discern if someone is in a smoking or non-smoking section of the park. Although the police will fine someone not obeying the ordinances for smoking or littering, Martin said that due to higher-risk crimes that officers are looking for when patrolling the parks that smoking is not what the police are focusing on.

The Parks Department then notified the Committee that not long after the smoking area designation signs and receptacles were put in place, the majority were torn down or torn up by vandals.

Douglas made a recommendation that the issue be brought up before the full Mena City Council so that a public hearing could be had in regards to eliminating smoking from all of the parks. The recommendation was put to a vote but failed 4-2.

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