CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Smokers could be banished from Live on the Levee and other events at Haddad Riverfront Park under a new ordinance City Council members could introduce next month.
Members of council's Parks and Recreation Committee debated the need for such an ordinance Tuesday, after getting complaints about smokers at Haddad concerts last year.
"How it got started was through the success of Live on the Levee," chairman Susie Salisbury said following a noon committee meeting at the King Community Center.
"Last summer was the first summer we got to enjoy the canopy," she said. "Some people were smoking and people complained to the mayor's office. So the mayor's office asked that [a ban] be considered."
Mayor Danny Jones said he may have asked council to look into a ban, but didn't want to take credit for it. "It might have been me. Yeah, we're going to do it.
"We had complaints [last summer] and I observed them myself. I took my kids down there every Friday night. People were smoking in the bowl and some were smoking cigars.
"People outside should be able to smoke. They can go up on the Boulevard, but not in the amphitheater."
Committee members have a number of options, Salisbury said. "Is it necessary to have an ordinance or should it be a policy? Is it an out-and-out ban or just [during] special events? Will there be a separate smoking area? Do we expand it to other parks?"
Councilman Courtney Persinger said he'd never considered the need for a smoking ban before, because parks are outside.
"But I've gotten a lot of feedback from constituents, especially about Live on the Levee, since people are holding cigarettes at waist level. In fact one person had a child who got burned from a cigarette.
"There's an enforcement issue," Persinger said. "We don't want to put something in place that's like trying to hold water in a bucket with holes in it. But at Haddad, I think it makes sense."
Mike Stajduhar said smokers have become a despised class. "I think there's a distinction. For events, yes. Otherwise it's an intrusion. I'd like to start with small steps -- events at Haddad."