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Local

DeKalb Park District eyeing smoking, vaping ban on park property

Kenny Nichols, 9, spreads bubbles during a party celebrating the final day of Camp Power on Aug. 2 in Welsh Park in DeKalb. The day camp geared toward school-aged children living in University Village was established by the DeKalb Police Youth in Need Task Force and other community stakeholders to address juvenile crime, poverty and health in the area.
Kenny Nichols, 9, spreads bubbles during a party celebrating the final day of Camp Power on Aug. 2 in Welsh Park in DeKalb. The day camp geared toward school-aged children living in University Village was established by the DeKalb Police Youth in Need Task Force and other community stakeholders to address juvenile crime, poverty and health in the area.

DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District could ban smoking on all Park District grounds, apart from golf courses, Board President Phil Young said ahead of Thursday’s board meeting.

The board will hold a discussion regarding a potential smoking ordinance during its study session meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ellwood Visitors Center, 509 N. First St. The board also will discuss master plans for both Kiwanis Park, 720 Borden Ave., and Welsh Park, 651 Russell Road. Young said the board will not vote on those items but will gauge public and board opinion.

“We’re not saying people don’t have the right to do certain things, but secondhand smoke shouldn’t be something that affects others around them,” Young said. “The big thing I’m concerned about is enforcement. We don’t have park police. We don’t expect the DeKalb police to fine someone for smoking a cigarette.”

Young said the board could vote to ban both smoking and vaping on all district property except for the golf courses.

“[Golf courses] are an isolated and different environment,” Young said. “You don’t normally see kids on the golf course.”

He said additional research will be done before a decision is made.

The Kiwanis and Welsh parks’ master plans will require additional research, but Young said the Park District will compound plans the Annie Glidden North Revitalization Task Force already drew up for Welsh Park specifically.

“What we’re looking at is a swing there, and we could easily add a second basketball court,” Young said. “There’s not enough seating there, and we could put some more trees in.”

The board will look to hire Chicago-based Upland Design Ltd. to begin the park-planning process.

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