Rockford Park District Strengthens Smoking Ordinance

The Board of Commissioners has voted to prohibit smoking entirely from Park District facilities or parks with the exception of public golf courses where adult smoking is permitted beyond 50 feet of enclosed/partially-enclosed spaces on golf course playing fields in the company of consenting adults and absent assembly by the general public.

At the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board approved updates to the Rockford Park District Code of Ordinances. While actions of the Board direct occasional code revisions, formal annual review of the Code of Ordinances in its entirety is a best practice. The biggest revisions were made to section 9.18 Clean Air Ordinance, which states that smoking in public places, places of employment, and District-owned or -operated vehicles is prohibited. The former ordinance stated that smoking was prohibited within 50 feet of Park District buildings, bleachers, playground, and concession areas. Tonight, the Board of Commissioners voted to prohibit smoking entirely from Park District facilities or parks with the exception of public golf courses where adult smoking is permitted beyond 50 feet of enclosed/partially-enclosed spaces on golf course playing fields in the company of consenting adults and absent assembly by the general public. The resolution includes any “lighted or vaporized substance in any manner or form,” including cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and e-cigarettes.

“It is our priority to provide residents with diverse, well‐supported and safe recreational activities for their health, well‐being and entertainment. Updating this ordinance has clear health benefits, will reduce litter in our parks, and will help protect our patrons, particularly youth, from exposure to second-hand smoke,” said Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary.

Fines have also been adjusted, stating that any person or entity that violates Section 9.18 shall be liable to punishment by a fine:

  1. For a first offense in any 12-month period, the fine for violation of this Section 9.18 shall be $125.00
  2. For a second offense, within one year of the date of conviction for a prior violation hereof, the fine for violation of this Section 9.18 shall be $250.00
  3. For each succeeding violation within one year from the date of such first conviction, the fine for violation of this Section 9.18 shall be $500.00

The revised Clean Air Ordinance will take effect 90 days from now to allow time for signage updates and other enforcement requirements to be put into place. Additional information about the Code of Ordinances can be found at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org.

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