Aldermen ban smoking at Sportsplex

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2006

The Monticello Board of Aldermen split Tuesday on a decision tomake the Lawrence County Sportsplex a smoke-free facility.

Over the objections of Ward Three Alderman James Wilson, theboard voted 3-1 to approve the ban. Ward One Alderman Jerry Goodewasn’t present for the vote, but joined the meeting later.

“We’re riding that horse to death I think,” Wilson said inopposing the ban. “They’re (smokers) being banned everywhere andtargeted for increased taxes. It’s a legal habit.”

Wilson, who said he does not use tobacco, neverthelesssympathized with smokers.

“I do things they don’t like, but I can do it,” he said. “Theyought to be able to do it without being bothered.”

Ward Four Alderman Kevin Garrett said he was supporting the banbecause the sportsplex is primarily a facility for children.

“That’s what they say whenever (banning smoking) is brought up,”Wilson said. “It’s a ball park. It’s not like it’s a gym.”

Wilson said he would have voted differently had the facilitybeen enclosed. However, he said he saw no reason to ban smoking atthe outdoor ball park.

Mayor Dave Nichols’ administration has taken a hard line againstsmoking. Previous town ordinances have banned smoking in governmentbuildings and in certain areas outside of city hall.

A proposed ordinance brought forth by the mayor during his firstterm to ban smoking in all Monticello buildings was defeated by theformer board of aldermen.

Tuesday’s ruling by the board does not affect smokelesstobacco.