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Fargo parks officials considering smoking ban

Lindenwood Park entrance. Forum file photo

FARGO – The Park Board here is mulling the possibility of expanding existing prohibitions on smoking in city parks.

The board met Wednesday for its monthly facilities committee meeting and listened to a proposal from a Fargo Cass Public Health official, who asked for a complete ban on using tobacco products in the park system.

“We really view parks and recreation areas as a locale, a place for families to go to presumably to play and be active,” said Holly Scott, a tobacco prevention coordinator. “We want to be part of creating a healthy environment.”

Scott made her proposal at the request of Board President Joe Deutsch, who said he and other commissioners support revising the current rules on smoking in parks. Right now, smoking is allowed in Fargo parks except within 25 feet of playgrounds and during events for families and children.

Commissioner Joel Vettel voiced support for considering improvements to the existing rules, but he cautioned against a full ban on tobacco products. Vettel, who’s also a Fargo police lieutenant, said that given the size of the park system and remoteness of some spots in parks, “a tobacco-free park system is impossible to enforce.”

The topic may come up for discussion again at the board’s next facilities committee meeting at 11 a.m. Sept. 24 in the Fargo Park District boardroom at 701 Main Ave.

Moorhead and Dilworth have banned smoking in their parks, while West Fargo has not.