Newport discuss tobacco-free parks

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - The city of Newport held a council meeting to discuss an ordinance to make certain areas of town tobacco-free.

Newport Mayor David Stewart said if their proposed ordinance passes, they plan to make all of their city parks tobacco-free.

Stewart said several months ago they were contacted by the Arkansas Tobacco-Free Coalition and discussed making all five of the city parks tobacco-free.

"Some time ago, we put together an ordinance that would not allow smoking in our parks and it never really got off well," Stewart said. "We didn't even read the ordinance, but they came back to us, and we're looking at several different things. We also have some local folks that are interested in it as well. And we've decided to restudy this."

So far, Stewart said George Kell Park is the only area that is smoke-free.

However, Stewart said if this ordinance passes people will be cited if caught smoking in the parks.

"It does involve a fine if you're caught smoking in the park," Stewart said. "Now, you can imagine that's going to be very hard to control, but I feel like if we put up signage and we let the public know that it will be smoke-free - and that's if everything passes - then they'll adhere to that and they'll just not smoke in our parks."

At the meeting on October 2, the council did not make a decision on the parks but did vote to enter into a lease with the DRIVE Newport organization for the old Department of Human Services building.

The building located on Rock N' Roll Highway 67 would be considered by the organization of being the home of the Rock N' Roll Highway Museum in the building.

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