News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 20, 2012

Smoking ban tabled by Park Board

Request made last month by CHANCES for Indiana Youth

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Decisions concerning smoke-free city parks are on hold for now as officials wrap up 2012.

The Terre Haute City Park and Recreation Board on Wednesday night decided to temporarily hold off on a decision about smoking policies at its properties. A request was issued last month by representatives of CHANCES for Indiana Youth, who lease the Booker T. Washington Community Center, which is owned by the city parks department.

Superintendent Eddie Bird said after the meeting that board members want to get more information on the matter before making a final decision.

“I don’t see a quick answer on that. That’ll be done down the road,” he said. “I think they just want to get as much information as they can.”

At the board’s Nov. 28 meeting, Alia Hazel and Brandon Halleck spoke on behalf of a ban that would prohibit smoking in city parks and on properties owned by the board. Wednesday evening, Halleck returned to follow up and offer more information.

“There’s tons of info and tons of support for this,” he said, pointing to cities such as Bloomington, which have undertaken similar measures.

Banning smoking from parks, he said, is just “one slice of the pie” in an overall effort to improve quality of life, health and well-being.

Bird said he’s received “a couple” calls from people opposing the proposed measure, but nothing overwhelming.

In other business, Bird said the department’s firewood sale is ongoing, and individuals can call the main office at 812-232-2727 to schedule an appointment to pick up wood. The department is selling loads of wood for $40, he said.

Board members Gordon Bryan and John Wright said the annual Christmas in the Park display is drawing a potentially record-setting crowd, with attendance well past that of previous years. An exact count has not yet been established, but the increased traffic through the entrance and exit is noticeable, they said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.