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La Crosse Common Council to vote on proposed “smoking ban” in parks

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Smoking in city parks could be banned if the La Crosse Common Council approves a measure Thursday night.

The ordinance goes against any lighted material like cigarettes, cigars, hookah pipes as well as vaping. Parks and Recreation director Jay Odegaard says improper discarding of cigarette butts has gotten out of control and costs the city a lot of money to clean up.

Recently a group cleaned up Cameron Park and placed flags where they found the discarded cigarettes.

“You see the amount they’re picking up and the flags that they use, but really that’s what we’re doing on a daily and at minimum weekly basis at all these parks,” Odegaard said.

He says this would just allow another avenue to curb the problem, but it doesn’t mean it will remain as proposed.

“If problems are created, like for example if people all of a sudden are walking out of a park and going across the street to a neighboring residential area, then we need to address that. We don’t want to just push a problem over there,” Odegaard explained.

He says the city would allow exemption for events in the parks if the group asks, but it would be the groups responsibility to pick up the cigarettes.

Jeremy Culver

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