Smoking ban in city park playgrounds to be discussed

The ban could be extended to sports fields and to all parts of city parks.

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WALLA WALLA — People will have an opportunity to see what the smoke signals say at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Council chambers at City Hall, 15 N. Third Ave.

The Walla Walla Parks, Recreation and Urban Forestry advisory board has scheduled the meeting to gather public input on a proposal to ban smoking within 25 feet of children’s playgrounds in city parks.

Tobacco prevention coordinator Katie Redar of the Walla Walla County Public Health Department has been working on the idea since last spring when she collected almost 400 cigarette butts from the wood chips at Pioneer Park’s playground area.

Comments on the proposal — and thoughts about banning smoking within 25 feet of sports fields and possibly banning smoking in all parts of city parks — are sought.

"I don’t want to do this in a vacuum," said Jim Dumont, director of Parks and Recreation. "The board needs to hear both sides."

The issue is complicated by logistics and personal feelings, he said. Also, if a decision is reached to impose a smoking ban, effective signage will be needed.

Redar said she has received a good deal of positive feedback about the proposal and is looking forward to the meeting.

Those who cannot attend the meeting can submit written comments to Parks and Recreation Department, City of Walla Walla, P.O. Box 478, Walla Walla, WA 99362 or email your comments to jdumont@ci.walla-walla.wa.us.

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