by Pam Zubeck
• If a park was less than ½ acre in size (21,780 square feet), staff opined that this was too
small of an area to identify a smoking area within its boundaries. Ten park properties
were included in this category.
• There were two parks where the public right-of-way extended a relatively significant
distance into what many would consider as a portion of “the park” so designated areas
were not considered for these sites. At these two designated park properties, Acacia
Park and Alamo Square Park (Pioneers Museum), the public right-of-way extends to the inside edge of the sidewalk meaning a reasonable amount of space exists that is not
covered by the ordinance and where an individual may legally smoke if they so choose.
This decision was supported by the Downtown Partnership staff.
• Eleven properties maintained as parks are leased by the department from School District 11, School District 2, or School District 20. State Senate Bill 94-100 grants school
districts the latitude to prohibit the use of tobacco products on school owned, leased or
rented property. All the aforementioned districts have utilized this Statute to establish
smoke free zones on all of their properties which include those sites leased by the City.
Designated smoking areas will not be identified at these locations.
• Apart from the eleven sites leased from the school districts, there are twenty-seven other City owned parks that are adjacent to schools, twenty-five of which are elementary schools. At this point smoking areas have not been designated at these locations. We are still evaluating these sites.
To date, staff has installed “no smoking signs” at ninety-nine of the possible one hundred and forty- four developed park sites where smoking is prohibited by the approved ordinance. Of the possible 121 sites where a designated smoking location would be appropriate, twenty have been installed to date. Weather conditions and frozen ground have complicated the installation of posts for the signs where appropriate posts or existing placement locations do not exist. Each of these areas will include a bench and installation of a receptacle.
No smoking signs have been installed at each of the five regional parks and the three open
space properties that have designated parking areas. Smoking will be permitted in the hard surfaced parking areas at the regional parks and open space properties.
Staff anticipates that the installation of all necessary signage and identification of designated smoking areas will be completed by April if not sooner weather permitting.
Lastly, the team is working with the El Paso County Public Health Department on messaging and an event this spring to bring awareness to this policy change and to help promote a healthier lifestyle. In December, we received an award from El Paso County Public Health-Tobacco Education Coalition for our work on this ordinance revision.