Tobacco-free park ordinance presented in Clearwater

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By Michelle Leidy-Franklin, TSnews

CLEARWATER – Shelley Rich with Tobacco Free Wichita gave a presentation to the Clearwater City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 22 proposing the city take action to make city parks tobacco free.
“This will create a healthier space for children and families, “said Rich. “It creates a healthier image for visitors. More people will use the parks and attend more city events. It helps keep parks clean and safe. It reduces the risk of youth tobacco use by setting a good example and it helps to support residents attempting to quit.”
Rich gave two examples of cities that chose to make their parks tobacco free. Cheney and Derby both have a variation of tobacco free park policies. Derby chose to have designated smoking sections in public parks with an ordinance created by the city. Cheney parks became tobacco free in 2018 as a result of a citizenship project done by a child in 4-H.
Rich reported that both communities have experienced success with their polices and found that most citizens comply.
“Derby created designated smoking sections, but they were suprised that they never get used,” said council member Justin Shore.
Mayor Burt Ussery and other members of the council expressed concern about enforcing an ordinance prohibiting tobacco use in public parks. Rich confirmed that she had no reports from participating communities of any legal issues.
The council took no action on the presentation.
In other business:
• The council approved hiring Jace Ives for seasonal maintenance help, Cole Collier for the public works department and Jamie Endsley as the court and office clerk.
• The council reviewed the 2021 end of year budget and approved the equipment reserve end of year transfer of funds.
• The council approved installing a sidewalk from 4th Street to the housing additions behind Casey’s. It will be a shared-cost project between the housing developer, Casey’s and the city. Expenses will be discussed and approved at a later date. Construction of the sidewalk is estimated to take place in two years.
• The council approved the next phase of interior remodeling of City Hall not to exceed $15,000.
• The council approved wage increases for the Clearwater Police Department in an effort to retain officers and compete better with the City of Wichita.