City sends up smoke signals about Aspen Recreation Center |

City sends up smoke signals about Aspen Recreation Center

benyalighting.comAspen is looking to snuff out smoking on a bridge leading to the Aspen Recreation Center, as well as areas around the center.

ASPEN – By voting unanimously to amend the city’s existing smoking ordinance, the Aspen City Council took a first step Monday toward snuffing out the cigarettes of high school students who smoke on the bridge between the school campus and the Aspen Recreation Center.

In doing so, council members are on track to give the OK to ban smoking in some public outdoor spaces. A public hearing on the measure is set for Jan. 11.

“The need for these changes has come about as a result of smoking in certain areas, which has created an uninviting and unhealthy atmosphere for residents and visitors,” wrote CJ Oliver, senior environmental health specialist, in a memo to the council. “Specifically the bridge which connects the school campus with the Aspen Recreation Center, as well as the area around the recreation fields at the Aspen Recreation Center, are currently being used as smoking areas frequently by students.

“This situation creates an unhealthy environment for the students who use the bridge to access the ARC, as well as residents and visitors using the facilities.”

Currently, the city’s smoking ordinance only addresses indoor spaces. The proposed changes would allow the city to designate city-owned outdoor spaces as non-smoking. According to Oliver, the amendments would not place a blanket ban on smoking in public outdoor spaces such as sidewalks and parks; rather, decisions would be made on an individual basis by the city manager, with input from related facilities managers and the public health agency.

Council members unanimously approved the measure with little discussion.

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“Do you think this goes far enough?” asked Councilman Steve Skadron.

“Yes, I think it’s a great and goes a long way toward protecting the public health,” Oliver replied. “I’d say it’s the last piece in what the city is able to do in this regard.”

Asked if any outdoor areas aside from the ARC bridge and surrounding fields are currently targeted for non-smoking designation, Oliver said that only the ARC area “has been brought to our attention” and that future bans would be made on a case-by-case basis.

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