Bonner Springs proposes smoking ban in public parks

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. - An outdoor smoking ban in Bonner Springs is being considered for all 70 acres of the city's eight public parks.

Parks and Recreation Director Skip Dobbs said his committee presented the ban to the city council on Monday, but was asked to consider designated smoking areas instead of a complete ban.

"It's a health issue," Dobbs said. "We're not trying to infringe on anybody's rights, one way or the other. We're just looking for a win-win situation for youth and the community."

Parents at the Lions Park were very much in support of separating the smokers from the kids.

"I think smoking is for adults," Jim Mathis said. "They should keep it away from places where kids are at."

"I think we should be thinking about the kids when they're out there playing and not expose them to something like that," Aubry Clifton said.

"There's going to be cigarette butts and stuff," Lauren Freeman pointed out. "Little kids could pick it up and eat it."

Even smokers like Michael Enriquez and Tashina Powers said a ban would be what's best for the kids.

"When you're at a park you just need to have respect for other people's children, so I don't smoke," Powers said. "I have my cigarettes, but I don't smoke in the park."

"It can be an influence on kids, and we want to teach them good values at ball fields. That's what baseball's all about," Enriquez said. "If they want to ban it, I don't have a problem with it."

Residents against the proposed ban said if they are outside and away from kids, they should be able to smoke where they want.

A couple of fishermen at the lake at North Park said if they can't smoke while they fish, they won't be coming back.

Dobbs plans on submitting a revised ban to the council sometime this summer.

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