The Crawfordsville Common Council amended a proposed ordinance that would ban the use of tobacco products, including vaping products, on city parks property. 

The changes were made following a discussion when the full council met Monday.

“This proposal comes out of the very constant and consistent feedback from the public,” Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said. “The number of complaints about smoking in the parks has gone up dramatically. Parents today make their decisions today much differently than our generation and generations before us. When they’re at the park and they see smoking or vaping, they pick up their children and leave. And they don’t come back. I’ve heard it over and over from citizens in our community.”

The amended ordinance now expands Pike Place Park to include Pike Street between Walnut and Washington streets when the gates are closed for events at Pike Place. It also now excludes Elston Park after a plea from organizers of the adult softball leagues that play there, arguing that many of the league’s participants are tobacco users.

The amended ordinance passed first reading 6-0. A motion to also remove the Sugar Creek Trail from the list properties under the tobacco use ban failed to pass 4-2 with councilmen Scott Molin and Stan Hamilton voting in favor of the motion.

“The more I got to thinking about it, and the Mayor’s done a lot of work and I think the council has too, to try to improve this community,” Council President Andy Biddle said. “And I think this is just another step in trying to improve the qualify of life here.”

The section of the city’s code of ordinances addressing use of tobacco products hasn’t been updated since 2004 and doesn’t the current ordinance doesn’t address vaping at all.

If the proposed ordinance is adopted, vaping and tobacco products would also not be allowed at the city pool and splash pad, the Downtown Trail, the Bark Avenue Dog Park along with in any city building or city-owned vehicle.

In other business, the council also amended an ordinance so that council members won’t receive a raise next year. 

“I oppose this raise for the seven council members,” councilman Mike Reidy said. “We don’t need it. We talk about fiscally responsible and it would be irresponsible to take (a raise).”

Reidy’s motion to strike the pay raise for the council member passed 4-2 with Biddle and Molin voting not.

The council was originally set to receive $35,000 — or $4,000 per council member — in 2020. Now the ordinance, which also fixes the 2020 salaries for Barton and Clerk-Treasure Terri Gadd, has the council at its current salary of $33,781 — or $4,825 per council member. 

The council also:

• Passed an ordinance on first reading fixing the 2020 salaries for all city employees and appointed officers. 

• Passed an ordinance on first reading for the 2020 budgets. 

• Passed resolutions for tax abatements for Closure Systems International, Inc. (CSI) and Kroger Pace Dairy.

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(1) comment

Herman Smith

So... you can drive a car through our city park with its exhaust spewing everywhere but you can't have a cigarette? Anyone who votes for no smoking or vaping in an OUTSIDE area?! I saw the poll here on the Journal's website and more than half the people in our County that voted, voted for this. How this is even debated or opinion is beyond me. We have smoke stacks and cars blowing junk into the air all day long and someone is worried about a cigarette?! I'm not even a smoker and this irritates me so much. I thought property tax was bad, this takes the cake. I don't like smoking either but to ban it from an outside area.... People have lost all common sense.

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