City of Gainesville To Ban Smoking In Public Parks


At Thursday’s Gainesville City Commission meeting, the Board of Commissioners unanimously decided to proceed with the decision to draft an ordinance that prohibited smoking in all city parks.

District 4 City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos articulated that a smoke-free park policy would promote one’s personal rights, advocating for healthy public spaces.

“I believe in personal rights,” Hayes-Santos said. “They should be necessary until they run into someone else’s personal rights.”

Hayes-Santos went on to say that a person smoking in a public park would be infringing on another person’s personal right to clean air.

Despite the decision being unanimous, there was much discussion revolving around the idea of a fine for disobeying the proposed ordinance, as well as how much a fine would be.

During a city commissioner meeting in April, it was recommended that smoking at a city park would result in a $75 fine, which is consistent with the adopted fines for smoking at the Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station and in bus shelters.

However, during this meeting, none of the city commissioners supported a $75 dollar fine, saying that it was too high of a cost.

While Hayes-Santos supports the passing of the ordinance, District 2 City Commissioner Todd Chase said there shouldn’t be a fine at all and that citizens should take actions if they see a person not following the law.

“If you come upon someone blowing smoke in your five-year-old’s face,” he said. “You’re going to have to figure it out on your toes there, a little bit.”

Commissioner Pro Tempore Helen Warren felt that a $75 fine was too high of a consequence for smoking in a public park.

“I’m not happy with the $75 fine,” she said. “There are a lot of ways that we can get compliance without going to $75 per fine.”

It was eventually agreed that the fine for this ordinance should be $25.

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said that the city would be more likely to get a payment for a $25 fine than a $75 fine.

Poe, who stated that he was a past smoker, said that a $25 fine would result in him paying and thinking about that the next time he got fined.

“If it was $75,” he said. “I would get angry and want to wage a little war.”

About Kyle Brutman

Kyle is a reporter for WUFT News. He can be reached at or 352-392-6397.

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