Lincoln Parks and Rec seeks to end smoking in facilities

By: Rachel Witter

Lincoln Parks and Recreation is looking for your input on tobacco use in city owned parks.

Currently, there aren't any regulations on smoking in Lincoln's many Parks and Recreation facilities.

But a survey that community members can take will help determine the next steps in changing policies.

Lynn Burda, who is against smoking, said, “I think the parks in Lincoln are fantastic and they're a great resource for parents to have your children be outside and active and having new experiences.  But I also think it can only improve.”

Burda is just one community member who is getting her voice heard on whether smoking should be allowed in city parks.

She says after her son dug up a cigarette butt in the sand, things should change.

Lynn Johnson, the director for Lincoln Parks and Rec, said, “Sidewalks, ball fields, parking lots, playgrounds, golf courses and trails littered with cigarette butts or soiled with spit tobacco are unattractive and do not facilitate a pleasurable recreation experience.”

So that's why the Parks and Recreation advisory board created a community survey to get your input on smoking in parks.

The survey is available online on the city's website, and a paper version is available at various locations in the city.

It asks whether you support smoking in Parks and Recreation facilities.

The survey will help determine what steps will be taken.

Parks and Rec hopes with appropriate signage and information, it will be a self–regulated policy in the future.

“We will probably make sure that parks and recreation employees are all aware of it, that they have an appropriate way to approach people in the park and say 'we have a policy about this being a non–smoking facility, would you please put out the cigarette',” said Johnson. 

Again, the survey is open to all members of the public and will be open all month.

You can find paper copies of the survey at the County Health Department or the Parks and Rec administration building.