WARSAW — The Warsaw Parks and Recreation Board discussed the Five Year Plan for for Warsaw parks and approved a recommendation for the city council to approve a no smoking ban in the parks.
Patrick Brown gave an update to the board about what projects should be designated as long or short term in the Five Year Plan for improving the parks in the area.
Brown indictated that no one will be in total agreement on the plan but rather they should have the mindset that, “I may not totally agree with it, but I’m ok with it.”
The next step for this project is to take all short term items and take into account staff funding and what the board wants to get accomplished in what order. Brown mentioned that there is no budget included with the tentative plan for the short term and long term budgets because he did not want cost to be a deciding factor to whether something needs to be done. “Low cost or high cost should not affect what gets done,” said Brown.
Brown mentioned if Warsaw is picked for the Stellar initiative, this could change the plan around a bit. The key to the plan at this point is to prioritize what needs to be done right now. Superintendent Larry Plummer mentioned the short term projects will have to be completed if Warsaw receives the Stellar Initiative grant and some long term projects may have to completed sooner as well.
The board also discussed whether a no smoking ordinance in the local parks should be approved by the board. Member Larry Ladd said, “An ordinance is only as good as it’s enforcement. Puts a burden on employees.” Ladd objected to approving the ordinance because he indicated that it would be impossible to have the enforcement to make sure people are not smoking. Ladd suggested signs be put out to discourage individuals from smoking.
Member Michelle Boxell agreed with Ladd. “You’re not going to be able to police it,” Boxell said. Boxell noted signs might be a more effective way to stop people from smoking in the parks. She also suggested a park rule, not an ordinance, be posted to discourage smoking in the parks.
A woman attending the meeting mentioned that she had spoken with a police officer who was having trouble by not being able to tell people in the park they are not allowed to smoke. The women mentioned the officer was frustrated because without an ordinance he has no authority to tell people in the parks to refrain from smoking.
The board motioned to not approve a recommendation to the city council. The motion was approved. The members mentioned they would like to hear more information from other parks who have approved a no smoking ordinance before they give a recommendation to the city council.
Plummer indicated they needed to make a decision on the matter, “We’ve discussed this for four months. We’re either for or against another ordinance. It’s pretty cut and dry.” Plummer advised they tell city council to look at this issue more closely.
Eventually the board decided to approve the motion to recommend the city council consider the no smoking ordinance.
- Sheila Wieringa, recreation direction, gave an activities report. She mentioned up to 700 to 750 attended the Meet the Beatles event last week. It was their biggest event to date. Wieringa indicated the first Family Movie Night in Center Lake Park was a success.
- Plummer informed the board the campgrounds in the area have been switched over to natural gas quicker than previously thought.