Naperville bans smoking in 137 outdoor parks

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Smoking is now prohibited outside in parks in the Naperville Park district.

Effective immediately after a Thursday night meeting, an amended district parks ordinance bans all forms of smoking in 137 parks in the district system. Excluded are District Golf Courses, Springbrook and Naperbrook, and the Naperville Riverwalk, which is maintained by the Park District but is not under its exclusive jurisdiction.

Despite concerns about the government’s overbreadth, park council approved the ban 6-1. Commissioner Bill Eagan voted against, saying the golf course exemption needs further consideration.

Eagan said he recently visited the Springbrook putting green and saw people smoking there, despite the presence of children.

He said he was originally concerned about allowing smoking on restaurant terraces at golf courses, but learned that the indoor-state smoking ban is banned within 15 feet of golf courses. exits.

“While I can appreciate that the golf course is a bit of an exception,” Eagan said, “where’s the line?”

Members of the park board considered, and then passed, this outdoor smoking ban after a few residents drew their attention to a negative interaction with a baseball player who smoked at the Nike sports complex and “chose not to use common sense, ”said executive director Ray McGury.

It should make sense not to smoke where it might disturb others or while the kids are playing sports, park board chairman Mike Reilly said.

“I was a little confused that we actually had to enforce an order where you would think common sense would prevail,” Reilly said. “But as a friend of mine said, ‘Laws are made for when common sense runs out.'”

The ban prohibits the smoking of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and vaping devices inside parks, but allows it in parking lots and on adjacent streets where parking is permitted.

The rule’s creation allows park patrons to call district police if someone refuses to quit smoking or go to a parking lot, said Derke Price, the park’s district attorney.

Although the park’s board of directors voted almost unanimously in favor of the ban, Reilly and Commissioner Mike King acknowledged that different people in the community had mixed opinions.

They said some wanted the rule to ensure smoking didn’t become a problem in spaces designed for healthy, active recreation, while others didn’t want another government regulation.

For Reilly, the final decision lay with the park district’s mission, which is “to promote healthy lives, healthy minds, and a healthy community.”

Naperville follows several other suburbs in banning smoking in outdoor parks or at outdoor sporting events. Buffalo Grove, Elmhurst, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Gurnee, Schaumburg, and Vernon Hills already have similar rules.


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