GENEVA — It is official. The campaign by a group of Boys & Girls Club of Geneva members has succeeded in having all tobacco products banned from city parks.
As a group of by the Boys & Girls Club crusaders looked on, the City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking in all city parks. There was a slight exception made for the area around the Geneva Events Center in the Lakefront Park, but otherwise anyone smoking in Geneva parks in the future will be subject to ticketing and fines.
City Manager Matt Horn said signage will be developed and the police will be informed and will start out issuing warnings. “We won’t start writing tickets right away,” Horn said. “But the new law is now in effect.”
The new ordinance came about after members of the leadership Keystone Club of the Boy’s & Girls Club of Geneva (see photo above) delivered to City Council containers of cigarette butts gathered up at Geneva parks. The Keystone members asked the council to approve a smoking ban in the parks and the council member quickly agreed.
The Keystone members, under the direction of Boys & Girls Club staffers and Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center officials, appeared before the council on two occasions and attended Tuesday night’s meeting to witness the final reading.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also heard reports from a number of Geneva non-profits who receive city funding for projects including youth development, civil rights, the arts and downtown development. The council will rule later on requests for continued support for these organizations’ efforts.
In addition, in a lighter moment, the council gave final approval for an ordinance that will attempt to protect the so-called Seneca Lake Monster. This sea creature, which may in fact be more of a tourism gambit than an existing animal, has had reported sightings over the centuries and the council was asked to take steps to protect it from hunting. The council agreed. Now Seneca Lakes version of the Loch Ness Monster has official protection.
The council also gave final approval for a trial period in which Linden Street merchants will be allowed to close the street to auto traffic on Satuday and Sunday evenings in the summer, allowing outdoor dining, drinking and dancing. It will also be closed to traffic on the first Friday of every month for the Geneva Night Out events. The council will review the impact of the change before the end of the year.