BURLEY — The city is planning major changes at Burley parks, including a smoking ban at two, requirements for parks in new subdivisions and a grant to complete a section of the greenbelt near the Overland Bridge.
City Attorney David Shirley will draft a new ordinance banning tobacco at the East Park skate park and at Salmon Park, which includes the city’s swimming pool. A city ordinance is already in effect banning tobacco use at Burley’s Storybook Park on 13th Street and Conant Avenue. The new version will include making the offense an infraction rather than a misdemeanor at the parks.
Minico High School senior Alex Mittelsteadt, a member of Idaho Drug Free Youth, made the request to the City Council to ban tobacco at the skate park.
“We’ve known for years that smoking is bad for you,” Mittelsteadt said. “The second-hand smoke is just as bad along with the chemicals children could be exposed to coming in contact with left behind cigarette butts.”
The state will provide free signs.
Shirley said during the Tuesday council meeting that making the offense an infraction would mean a fine instead of jail as punishment.
“It would expedite the process and make it similar to a traffic offense,” Shirley said.
Councilman John Craner said he is not a smoker and does not encourage smoking but is concerned about the city regulating “too much.”The public pays to maintain the parks and the city wants people to use them, Craner said.
“I’m concerned we’re going over the top,” he said.
Councilman Bryce Morgan said the skate park targets children, and so a ban make sense. Councilman Casey Andersen agreed with Morgan. And Councilman Randy Hawkins said how the signs are worded makes a difference.
“Thank you for not smoking instead of it is prohibited makes it more palatable I think,” Hawkins said.
Councilman Russ Mallory, who attended the meeting via phone, agreed with Craner.
“The civil libertarian in me thinks it’s a step too far. I think it should be no smoking in the skate zone, not the entire park,” Mallory said.
Brent Winn, the city’s parks maintenance supervisor, suggested adding Salmon Park to the list because it is also a children’s park.
In other business, City Administrator Mark Mitton said a neighborhood park is planned in the new Harrison Estates subdivision at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 27th Street.
The developers have agreed to include the park in the 165-lot subdivision. Developers at 276-lot Glacier Park subdivision have also agreed to put in a neighborhood park.
“It’s the largest subdivision we’ve ever had,” Mitton said.
The city will maintain the parks after they are developed.
“The city will never lose money on those parks because of all the houses in those subdivisions will pay for the maintenance,” he said.
Mitton suggested that city officials consider putting the requirement for parks in subdivisions over 100 lots in the city code. Up to this point all of the developers have been compliant with the request.
Mitton said the city needs to take a “hard look” at how it is growing and add commercial zones around the residential areas to minimize traffic problems later on.
The city will also apply for an $80,000 grant to complete the paving on a section of the greenbelt path near the Overland Bridge. The completed section will link the park on Bedke Avenue to the park that will be developed on the southwest side of the Overland Bridge and Lex Kunau Park can be accessed by the walkway on the bridge. There is a 3,500-feet stretch that needs completed in the section.
Once the section is completed, only one more section of the planned pathway remains uncompleted. That section stretches from the east side of the Overland Bridge to the Heyburn Bridge near the Burley airport.