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Grand Forks Park District seeks info before acting on tobacco ban

Grand Forks Park District Commissioners want to gather some more information before acting on a tobacco-free policy.

Commissioners received the results of a poll last week that showed overwhelming support for adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free policy on Park District property. On Friday, commissioners said they wanted to hear from adult users of park facilities, such as softball league teams, before crafting or acting on a policy.

“If we wanted to implement a policy right now (that says) absolutely no smoking for parts that have anything to do with our youth, we could do that tomorrow,” said Greg LaDouceur, vice president of the Park Board. “I think everybody’s got the same idea on that.”

“We’re just a little bit more cautious with our adult user groups,” he added.

The poll surveyed the Grand Forks community at large and people who use Park District facilities, such as softball team managers and golfers. Users showed more support for a tobacco-free policy, with 82 percent of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat support the idea while 78 percent of the community respondents showed support.

The survey question also mentions electronic cigarettes as being part of the ban. Minneapolis is considering banning all forms of smoking throughout its parks, including e-cigs.

LaDouceur said one concern they have is how a tobacco-free policy would be enforced.

Still, Paul Barta, another commissioner, called the survey an “important first step.”

“I think we learned a lot from that survey,” Barta said. “I think the results were pretty positive to going towards tobacco-free parks. So I think we have a good start to maybe head down that direction.”

Any tobacco-free policy wouldn’t affect the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, said Park District Director Bill Palmiscno.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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