April 04, 2020
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Bangor eyes smoking ban in public parks

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor is considering a prohibition on smoking in its public parks.

The city’s Government Operations Committee expects to discuss the proposal during its meeting Monday night.

City councilors are considering adding smoking to the list of activities that aren’t allowed in the city’s parks. The ordinance already prohibits drinking alcohol, starting fires and entering areas that are closed to the public.

A full list of the nearly 40 areas in the city defined as public parks can be found in city ordinance and at bangorparksandrec.com/info/facilities/. They include public playgrounds, large open spaces like Broadway Park, the City Forest, the Norumbega Mall downtown, Bass Park, and the municipal golf course.

If the council decides to move forward with the ban, it could exclude certain parks. For example, City Solicitor Norm Heitman is presenting a draft version of the ordinance doesn’t that include Bangor Municipal Golf Course or West Market Square because of how those spaces are used. Both those places are excluded from the city’s ban on alcohol in public parks. West Market Square periodically hosts events where alcohol is served.

Peter Hansen, who owns Retro Swagger in downtown Bangor, asked the city to consider the ban, citing health concerns resulting from secondhand smoke and cigarette butt litter in public areas.

City officials also have considered expanding the smoking ban to bus stops, but Heitman said that bus stops are not city property, so the city doesn’t have jurisdiction to prohibit smoking there unless the bus stop is in an enclosed space.

In 2009, Maine lawmakers passed a bill banning smoking in state park “common areas,” such as beaches, playgrounds, snack bars and group picnic shelters.

National parks have banned smoking inside park buildings and have discretion to ban smoking in certain areas outdoors.

The Government Operations Committee meets immediately after another committee meeting that starts at 5:15 p.m. Monday.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously described national park smoking policies. Smoking is banned in buildings and certain other park areas.

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