City Park considering a smoking ban

City Park considering a smoking ban

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans' City Park board members created a committee to consider banning smoking ban in certain areas of the park.

"It's not a given how we will proceed right now," City Park president Susan Hess said. "I'm going to appoint a committee of people who are on the board, and we will spend some time analyzing what's possible in the park. This is a really big park with a lot of different things going on all the time."

Only buildings and 25 feet around them are designated as non-smoking in the 1,300-acre park. All other areas of the park allow smoking, including playgrounds and Storyland.

"We just take this very seriously and we are going to look and see can we do something? Is it possible? Is it feasible? We don't know yet," Hess said.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who is a also City Park board member, brought the idea to the board's attention, according to Hess. Parents see the move as positive, especially if it means no smoking around places that are popular with children.

"I think it would be better for kids, and it just creates a lot of litter that smaller toddlers can pick up and put in their mouth. So that is something that not every one thinks of," parent Eileen Guillory said.

While many see possible smoking bans near children as a good thing, they are concerned to see how far the ban might go.

"Storyland, the gardens I understand that, but wide open areas where people walking their dogs. I wouldn't agree with that," park patron Jason Lucky said.

"Surely, if you guys are standing here and you're non-smokers, I could be three blocks away and there's not going to be any problem with it. We're outside," Kenneth Tarride said.

Hess admits that any sort of ban would be difficult to enforce.

"We have a very small police presence in the park and I don't think they would be going around telling people to stop smoking. So I think it would be kind of an honor system," Hess said.

Administrators have not gotten complains about people smoking in the park, according to Hess.

She also said cigarette butts are not the biggest litter problem either. That belongs to trash leftover from people drinking and having picnics.

The board will revisit the possible ban in three to four months and make a decision, Hess said.

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