The Richmond Register

February 6, 2014

Parks smoking policy goes to commission

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — The Richmond Parks Board has submitted a more restrictive smoking policy to the city commission for approval.

The change was included as part of several policies and procedure updates for the parks and recreation department.

Currently, certain areas of city parks are designated nonsmoking, but there is no policy in writing, according to Parks and Recreation Director Erin Moore.

The board has discussed the creation of a written policy at several previous meetings. The group has focussed on areas where children play and engage in sports.

The change, called the “Young Lungs at Play” smoke-free areas policy, states it is “designed to protect the health, welfare and safety of our park patrons.”

The policy reads: “The City of Richmond Parks & Recreation Department does not allow smoking in areas where people play and congregate on City owned park land, park facilities, or open space. Smoke free areas will be marked by signage and includes, but is not limited to: Playgrounds, Shelters, Paradise Cove, Adventure Falls, Sports Fields Dugouts, Bathrooms and Bleachers.”

The policy explains that tobacco use in proximity to children and adults engaging in or watching recreational activities is unhealthy and “detrimental to the health of others.”

The document also states that tobacco products, after being consumed, often are discarded on the ground. This creates litter and also a risk of ingestion by toddlers.

Finally, “as parents, leaders, coaches and officials, we are thought of as role models, and the use of tobacco products around youth has a negative affect on their lifestyle choices.”

Moore applied for a grant that will be used to create 15 signs encouraging people not to smoke in certain areas. A picture of a sample sign created by Signs & More was distributed to board members at Tuesday’s meeting.

The sign depicts a child on a swing and states, “Young lungs at play! Thank you for not smoking.” It also includes a hotline number for people who want assistance on quitting use of tobacco products.

The Richmond City Commission will next vote on whether to accept the policy and procedures changes that were recommended by the parks board.

In other business, the park board:

• Discussed adding the staff position of athletic director to the department

• Discussed the creation of a Youth League Agreement that sports groups would have to sign in order to use park facilities. Action on the item was tabled until the next meeting.

• Announced the Easter Eggstravaganza will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 19

• Announced the Touch A Truck event for children to see emergency and other large vehicles up close will be May 17 in the Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum parking lot.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.