Parks and Recreation Board votes to ban smoking in Evanston parks


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

The Evanston Parks and Recreation board discusses park maintenance at a meeting Thursday night. Board members discussed a proposal to ban smoking in all Evanston parks.

Emily Chin, Reporter

An Evanston board voted unanimously Thursday to recommend to City Council expanding the current smoking ban to apply to all public parks in the city.

The motion will go to City Council, where the ordinance will be voted on.

Smoking is currently banned in all businesses, enclosed public areas, including schools and workplaces, beaches, children’s playgrounds, public transit and common spaces in apartment buildings, according to the city’s website. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of an enclosed area in which smoking is banned. Enforcement of the ban is on a complaint basis, and fines can range from $100 to $500, according to the city.

Daniel Stein, the president of the Parks and Recreation Board, said the board got the idea for the ordinance from the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, who on Sept. 10 voted to ban smoking in public parks and harbors.

“I think if Chicago is going to show leadership like that I think it’s time for Evanston to do it too,” Stein said.

Stein brought the idea to the board to decrease the amount of smoking in Evanston, he said.

“I think that we should take Chicago’s lead and do every bit as much as what they’re doing,” Stein said. “I think it’s time to make a stand on it.”

Additionally, much of the litter on beaches in Evanston is cigarettes, another issue prompting the new ordinance, said Marcus Casady, a Park and Recreation board member.

David Campbell, another board member, said CVS’ move to stop selling cigarettes last month also spurred the decision to expand the ban.

The proposed ban will likely spur dialogue and discussion about the issue, said Joe McRae, director of parks, recreation and community services and deputy city manager.

“There are constituencies that smoke, and constituencies that do not, so they both are probably going to have an interest in this,” McRae said.  “There will be deliberation.”

Other board members said the main problem with the ordinance would be in its enforcement.

“There are a handful of things over the years that we haven’t addressed because we worry about enforcement,” Stein said.

Email: [email protected]