Smoking and Vaping At GR City Parks Soon To Be Banned
The Grand Rapids City Commission voted on Tuesday night to ban all smoking and vaping, which includes cigarettes and marijuana, at all city parks and playgrounds. It also prohibits throwing cigarette butts on the sidewalk or grass.
WZZM 13 reports though that the decision created quite a debate among commissioners when made an exception to the new ban for the Indian Trails Golf Course which is city-owned, as one of the commissioner’s, Jon O’Connor made a comment on the level of double standards of the ban, by letting the golf course off with an exception.
According to WZZM 13,
So basically what we're saying is if I have enough money to go golfing at a golf course that's barely fiscally-sustainable, that's cool, I can have a cigar or cigarette," O'Conner said during the meeting. "But if I'm one of our homeless folks living down at Pekich Park or at Heartside Park, I can't smoke there anymore?
Another commissioner debated that it was a “sarcastic remark” when O’Conner rebutted by mentioning the problem of people urinating in the parks,
Have we driven by either of these parks? We can’t control people from urinating in parks at this point, but we’re going to go ahead and say we’re going to stop them from smoking?
Now here’s why I’m not really sure why this even is becoming a measure because as WZZM 13 reports, City Manager Mark Washington made it clear that enforcing the ban won’t be a high priority for the police department. Then why even make the rule, if it’s not going to really be enforced? Also if you get caught smoking or vaping at the city park or playground you’ll receive a verbal warning to either stop what you’re doing or leave the park; and if you refuse you could, yes, “could” be issued a ticket or what they referred to as a civil infraction.
Although it was voted on last night, the actual ban won’t take effect until the new year, January 1st.