NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Anyone coming to any of the city’s four parks and sports complexes this summer will be expected to refrain from lighting up.
The Parks and Recreation Commission approved a policy to prohibit smoking in the parks beginning July 1, according to Director Kevin Fougerousse.
The no-tobacco policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and e-cigarettes, as well as chewing tobacco and snuff.
Although e-cigarettes do not use tobacco, they are included under the policy which seeks to discourage smoking of any kind.
“The overall goal is to promote healthier environments and healthier lungs, and not have kids subjected to adults smoking right next to them,” Fougerousse said. “We don’t want to step on anybody’s rights. We’re just trying to protect our kids and the public.”
The idea for a no-smoking policy arose after Fougerousse and other adults saw adults smoking within feet of toddlers and children under the age of 10 enjoying the Splash Pad water play area at South Central Park.
Admittedly, the policy does not include specific enforcement measures but is designed to benefit groups and organizations that make use of the parks such as local football and soccer leagues.
“There are no fines and no one will be banned from the parks, but if they can’t abide by the policy, and an individual is continually doing it (smoking), organizations have the right to remove them,” Fougerousse said. “If someone can’t wait 90 minutes to two hours to smoke, that’s concerning.”
The city plans to let people know about the new no-tobacco policy by posting signs in South Central Park, the city’s main park, as well as Frontier Park on Mills Creek Lane at the east end of town, a soccer complex on Root Road, and the Shady Drive baseball-softball complex off Sugar Ridge Road.
“We’ll roll it out in the next couple of months,” Fougerousse said. “We want to give everyone enough information beforehand,” Fougerousse said. “We want to make sure people are aware of it.”
Details of the policy will likely be included with utility bills, and posted on the city’s website.
“We’ll also use all of our social media including Facebook, as well as the schools,” Fougerousse said. “The only people who may not know about it are non-residents who come into the city, but they are not our first responsibility,” Fougerousse said.
The smoking and tobacco ban also will extend 25 feet into parking areas at each park.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.