Ottawa City Commission plans to consider a request to ban tobacco use in Ottawa parks at its April 4 meeting.
The commission heard a presentation Wednesday night from Erin Laurie, health educator at the Franklin County Health Department as well as many community members, supporting the ban for health reasons. A task force had been formed to consider the proposal and Laurie brought their findings to the commission.
“Parks and outdoor recreation spaces are highly valued environments in neighborhoods and communities that promote individual and community wellness,” she said. “Making these environments tobacco free really makes sense and is really in alignment with establishing a community norm of health behaviors.”
Laurie presented findings that showed second-hand smoke, even outdoors, can provide a health hazard. She also presented feedback the task force received through a survey and social media. Her findings were that 60 percent of those who responded were in favor of the tobacco ban.
One issue that was brought up was the effect the ban would have on the annual car show in the park. Laurie said the car club had been notified and said they were in favor of the proposal and that they believed it would not have a negative affect on the show.
The tobacco ban would be enforced through signs and would be self-enforced.
“Overall, in other communities that has been a successful way to enforce these policies,” Laurie said.
Four community members also spoke in favor of the proposal during the meeting Wednesday in the commission chambers at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The commission took no action but said the proposal would be placed on the April 4 agenda. Possible compromises would be to make the ban within a designated area where children play.
In other action, the commission:
• Approved a proclamation recognizing March 17, 2018, as National Quilter’s Day. Sharon Haney of Sunflower Peacemakers Quilt Guild accepted the proclamation and brought a quilt to demonstrate their work.
• Approved two resolutions to call public hearings. The first will consider a Community Improvement District (CID) at 2138 S. Princeton Circle Drive, the former Price Chopper parking lot. The district would help developers pay for parking and landscaping improvements through a designated sales tax. The second public hearing will consider the adoption of a Rural Housing Incentive District (RHID) Development and designation of a Rural Housing Incentive District. The project is the Prairie Fire development which is proposed to be at North Cherry Street, just south of Enterprise Street. It is northwest of Lincoln Elementary School. It will be 36 units of mixed income housing. Both public hearings were set for the commission’s 9:30 a.m. meeting April 18 at City Hall.
• Held a public hearing for the purpose of securing funding for a new parks maintenance building in Forest Park. Michael Haeffele, director of public works, told the commission the current park buildings are not adequate for the work being done and are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The request was to secure a loan of up to $375,000 from USDA Rural Development. Haeffele said, depending on funding, the new building could be built in six months.
• Approved an agreement to annex land at 2324 E. Logan St. The property is owned by Central RV and is surrounded on the east, north and west by properties in the Ottawa city limits.
• Approved a proposal to build an 18-hole disc golf course at Forest Park. The course, which would be the second one in Ottawa, will be built through hole sponsorships. Haeffele said construction of a nine-whole course will be built when funding is secured with an additional nine holes to complete the project.
• Approved an ordinance amending the contractor licensing section of the municipal code.