Naperville Park District Considers Smoking Ban

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A proposal for a smoking ban came before the Naperville Park District Board at its latest meeting.

It’s a proposal started by one person after a negative encounter at a baseball game.

“My son was playing on his little league team and there was a group of smokers, maybe five or six, so it was a pretty overwhelming smell right by the dugouts,” said Jean Weber, the concerned mom who proposed the ban. “And so we were all kind of coughing and I thought ‘oh, I’ll just approach them and ask if they could move to the parking lot.’ And it blew up and it was kind of a negative situation.”

After doing some research and learning that smoking was not already banned, Jean decided to reach out to the park district.

Her proposal was received favorably, and an ordinance was drafted, which the park district board discussed.

“Taking it back to our mission, ‘Healthy lives, healthy minds, healthy community,’” said Rich Janor, vice president of the park board. “With that being our mission, how could we possibly condone smoking in the park?”

The ban would prohibit smoking at the district’s 137 public parks – instead directing smokers to parking lots or the nearest street with parking.

“Say police are called to a dispute where someone is smoking on the grandstands he can say ‘no this is the rule, you need to go to the parking lot.’ Only in the worst-case scenario if people were insistent on some civil disobedience would we write a ticket, but we would have the power to do so,” said Derke Price, attorney for the park district.

As presented, the ban would continue to allow smoking on the park district’s two golf courses.

The smoking ban will be brought to the park district for a final vote on August 9.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.