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La Crosse council votes to ban smoking in city parks

Brad Williams

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Two years ago, students planted red flags for every cigarette butt they found at Powell Park. They started with 1,000 flags and didn't have enough for the 1,456 butts they picked up.

City parks in La Crosse will generally be a ‘no smoking’ zone, following a vote last night by the city council. The vote count was 9-to-4 in favor of banning smoking in the parks.

Parks and rec. director Jay Odegaard said the tobacco ban could save man hours, money, along with minimizing the various ways the butts pollute..

“One is obviously the financial benefit of us not having to put labor hours towards cleaning up the cigarette butts that are left behind,” Odegaard said.

“A lot of these cigarette butts are getting chopped up in the mowers and shot into the curb and gutters, and they’re going into the storm water.”

It’s still possible that the city could set aside smoking areas in parks, or allow smoking at events such as Riverfest.