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Councilman, Some Businesses Push for Smoke Free Park Central Square

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- One Springfield City Councilman says keeping smokers off of Park Central Square is a matter of health.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- One Springfield City Councilman says keeping smokers off of Park Central Square is a matter of health.

Councilman Craig Hosmer proposed an ordinance that would prohibit smoking and tobacco products on Park Central Square and the sidewalks in front of businesses on the square.

Hosmer says shoppers and people going to the library are walking through clouds of smoke and aside from the health issue tobacco, trash litters the city square.

"Basically from the buildings that line the square in," says Hosmer, showing what parts of the square would prohibit smoking.

Hosmer is the author of the ordinance.

"The number one source of trash is tobacco products,” says Hosmer.

Hosmer says people who go to Park Central businesses and the library are dodging secondhand smoke.

"I've taken my kids on the square and you walk through clouds of smoke whenever you go there," says Hosmer. "There no positive benefits to smoking whether it's first hand smoke or second hand smoke. It hurts everybody."

People who frequent Park Central Square disagree on the proposed ordinance.

"Not my place, to each their own," says Nicholas Willing. "I think, the way they are doing it, they are going to cause more problems than it's worth."

Ken Bratcher says that is not how he sees it.

"I'm for it," says Bratcher.

To Bratcher, being on the Square means breathing in smoke.

"I don't like second hand smoke being breathed into my face,” he says. “And when I walk around and do what I do down here it gets in my face."

Hosmer says he doesn't see any issue with enforcing the proposed ban.

"It's enforceable in our city parks, it's enforceable in school playgrounds, it's enforceable at the mall,” says Hosmer. "The square is more akin to a city park than it is a general sidewalk so I think it's the right thing to do I think it's the thing the city should do and I hope that we do it."

Hosmer says the health consequences of smoking make this step necessary.

"It's indisputable,” says Hosmer. “We should make smoking the exception rather than the rule."

Additional ordinances have been recommended that would affect skateboarders and food being distributed to the homeless on the square.

All of these proposed ordinances were discussed during the Springfield City Council's Plans and Policies Committee meeting.
This still has to be presented to the entire council and be open for public input before it could be approved.

Hosmer says designated smoking areas already in place because of the Smoke Free ordinance would remain.

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