Thanks to a 3-0 vote by the Brazil City Parks Board recently, areas near the pavilion, band shell, softball diamond and playground area will be smoke-free.
Board president Ruth Ann Jefferies said the park board voted 3-0 in favor of the decision. Board member Linda Messmer was not in attendance at the meeting, which took place Feb. 4, but Jefferies said she was certain Messmer would have voted in favor of the measure.
Certain areas in the park are already smoke-free, including the Clay Youth League diamonds and the swimming pool.
However, representatives with the Clay County Tobacco Coalition recently approached the board with the possibility of making the entire park smoke-free.
"The first I knew about this was in January," Jefferies said.
However, she said the board voted down the proposal of making the entire park smoke-free.
"We rent shelters to people," Jefferies said. "I don't think it's feasible to make the entire park smoke-free."
Several area residents, however, agreed that making certain areas of the park smoke-free was a good idea.
Jefferies said she spoke with CYL representative Jeff Stewart recently. He told her the league had implemented a no smoking policy around the diamonds last year.
In addition, Jefferies said YMCA Director Chad Zaucha provided the Park Board a letter explaining the YMCA of Clay County had a no smoking policy on its grounds implemented. The YMCA also contracts the adult softball diamond on the north end of Forest Park with the Park Board.
"It can't hurt anything," Jefferies said. "I think we do have some people that smoke that are courteous but some are not.
"It will be really difficult to enforce. We just hope people will be courteous."
Clay County Tobacco Coalition Program Director Kandace Brown said she was pleased the board made this decision.
"They voted against a comprehensive ordinance, but mentioned a willingness to discuss a compromise," Brown said. "I was very impressed with the board's willingness to see both sides of the situation. It is my hope that all will find the park to be a place of rest, relaxation and a safe place for our children to play."
Brown added supporters of the smoke-free zones included her coalition, the YCMA, St. Vincent Clay Hospital, Youth Leaders of Brazil, Clay Community School Corp. and others.
"Many establishments in Brazil have gone to a smoke-free indoor air policy with others being totally smoke-free," Brown said.
Jefferies said signs will be posted signifying smoke-free areas in the park. She added those signs will be purchased by the Clay County Tobacco Coalition.
Jefferies said no plans have been designated to create smoke-free zones in the city's remaining parks, Babe Wheeler Park and Craig Park.