BISMARCK, N.D. – In a 5-0 vote on Thursday, the Bismarck Park Board took swift action to ban smoking on the 44 playgrounds and play areas it manages. People must step 20 feet away from the playground before they light up.
Alecia Uhde, chairwoman of the Go! Bismarck Mandan coalition, said she made the request as part of the group’s goal to improve the health, fitness and quality of life for people.
“One of those (goals) was to increase the number of tobacco-free designated areas for children, specifically outdoors,” she said. “Young children are impressible. … Secondhand smoke, even in outdoor settings, is a true health hazard and harms everyone.”
Uhde said discarded tobacco products in play areas may be ingested by toddlers.
“I believe we set an example for the children of this community,” park board President Mike Schwartz said after the meeting.
Bismarck Parks and Recreation Executive Director Randy Bina said the smoking ban will create a better awareness of healthy lifestyles and examples for children.
“All we’re saying is, if someone does want to smoke, just step away 20 feet from the playground and just don’t smoke inside the playground,” he said.
Bina said Go! Bismarck Mandan will help the park district pay for new signs explaining the tobacco bans in playgrounds. He didn’t think there would be an enforcement issue.
“This policy is dependent upon people self-policing the playgrounds. We need the cooperation of all of the users that if they see someone smoking, make the individual aware of the policy and ask them to move 20 feet away from the playground,” he said.
Two proposals to further limit tobacco use in Mandan parks failed on Monday. Tobacco use is already barred at several park locations and events throughout the Mandan park system.
In separate action, the Bismarck Park Board:
- Agreed to advertise for bids for the Hoge Island boat ramp. It also entered into an agreement with the state Game and Fish Department to replace the ramp.
- Received a final facilities report from JLG Architects that gave them several options for replacing Hillside Pool and making it a year-round meeting facility, improving the World Memorial Building and adding at least one more sheet of ice for hockey programs. Bina said the options will be discussed in the 2014 budgeting process this summer. For more information about the proposals, visithttp://bisparks.org.
- Awarded Northwest Contracting the bid for the Schaumberg Arena work to remove its sand base floor and replace it with concrete, and install new refrigeration piping, ceiling work and an overhead door on the east side. The low bid is $587,200. The project will be finished by Oct. 1, Bina said.