Council clamps down on park smoking
In fact, a consensus emerged from the discussion in support of a ban on the use of tobacco on all city-owned property. Councilors asked the staff to research the issue and return with a proposal.
At the recommendation of Library Director Jenny Berg and Parks Director Jay Pearson, the council also agreed to allow skateboarding along paved paths in the upper portion of City Park. Previously, skateboarding had been banned throughout.
Skateboarding remains prohibited around the park entrance, park fountain, library plaza and all buildings, playgrounds and structures in the park, including stairways, seat walls and picnic areas. The council also added bikes and scooters to the ban and the library parking lot to the roster of off-limits areas.
Allowing skateboarding on Upper City Park’s asphalt paths is the tradeoff.
Berg and Pearson told the council the intent of the smoking ban was to keep the park clean, safe and enjoyable for everyone.
“Extending the prohibition to the whole park will provide our park rangers and other city staff greater consistency of application,” they said in a memo. “The volume of tobacco use has grown exponentially over the years, significantly impacting park cleanliness in playgrounds, on trails, around the aquatic center, library and other park buildings, and in picnic and plaza areas.
“And unfortunately, we know from direct experience that poor behaviors have often derived from underage kids smoking illegally and from other young adults who have consistently ignored posted prohibitions. A tobacco-free designation for City Park will help us manage these various circumstances.”
Councilors said they would like to see the ban extended to the rest of the city’s park system, and to other city properties. They commissioned a staff report as a starting point.
Independently, a move is underway to consider a smoking policy in McMinnville’s Downtown Historic District. The McMinnville Downtown Association currently has a survey underway to gauge sentiment on the issue.