Apr 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - A majority vote was gained, and Barden Park is now "smoke-free."
The St. Cloud Parks and Recreation Board voted in the policy at their Tuesday night public hearing.
Over a dozen residents of the neighborhood were in attendance and stood to share their thoughts.
Most, like area resident Rich Kelley, were standing in favor of making the park a tobacco-free space. Kelley says Barden Park should be part of what he calls a "wave" of smoke-free public spaces sweeping the nation.
"It's a progression, " Kelley says. "It supports the campus [tobacco] ban. And really, it's the will of the neighbors."
In the minority was Jim Schwartz, who supports making a safe zone for smokers in the area. He called the board's decision "a little incomplete."
"When you take something away, you have to replace it with something," Schwartz explains. "They're doubling down on a mistake that was made when campus became smoke-free without adding a designated smoking area. There's got to be something given to these people, because we're taking something away with this ruling."
The board stressed that the decision is a policy, not an ordinance, and they intend to revisit the decision to evaluate its success.
Barden Park borders on the campus of St. Cloud State University, which became a smoke-free campus last August.
The St. Cloud City Council will now review the decision.
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