Frankfort Prohibits Golf Carts At Prairie Creek Park, Bans Smoking At All Parks And City Amenities

The Frankfort Parks Department is set to kick off the 2024 summer season with two new ordinances intended to protect citizens and visitors from injuries as well as prohibit the use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the local parks.

The first new ordinance will prohibit the use of golf carts in Prairie Creek Park in an attempt to prevent injuries for visitors of the park, which was a decision that was approved in late April by the Frankfort Board of Public Works and Safety.

Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets detailed the reasoning behind the Board of Works’ decision to approve the additional signage and prohibiting of golf carts at Prairie Creek Park, citing the accessibility and pedestrian presence as one of the main reasons behind the decision.

“There used to be just a few, and now there’s a lot more of them,” Sheets said. “We really don’t have an area for them that is set aside for that. I felt like like it was getting congested in that area. Also, if we needed to get an emergency vehicle down there, or we had something go on, it could hinder them getting there.”

The second addition to the ordinances for the parks prohibits smoking or using tobacco or nicotine producing products on property located within the parks, including the Sapphire Bay, Prairie Creek Park, TPA Park and all other park properties and recreational areas owned, managed or operated by the City of Frankfort.

Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition members have been working with the city to address the prevalence of smoking and vaping in public areas, such as during the summer concert series, Downtown TuneNight, Sapphire Bay days and more. According to the organization, exposure to secondhand smoke is unhealthy regardless of whether the smoke is emitted in an indoor or outdoor area. The organization reported that studies have found that levels of secondhand smoke in outdoor spaces may equal the amounts found inside where smoking is allowed, which led to the U.S. Surgeon General reported that “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

One of the main concerns highlighted by the organization revolved around how exposure to a concentrated amount of secondhand smoke outdoors may cause respiratory irritation or asthma attacks. Additionally, the organization and the city of seeking to address the environmental impact and less known impacts of cigarettes, which stems from studies that show that cigarette butts are the most littered item in the United States with more than 175 million pounds littered every year. Cigarette butts may also remain in the environment for numerous years, and they contain toxic ingredients that may cause issues if ingested by children, pets or marine life.

According to the city in the release regarding the ordinance, “The Frankfort Parks Department strives to provide safe indoor and outdoor spaces for people of all ages so they can socialize, experience nature, relax and live a healthier lifestyle. Having smoke-free parks will help to ensure this purpose is met.”

The Frankfort Parks Department will continue to work with Healthy Communities to display signage in the parks and recreation areas to ensure that citizens and visitors are aware of the new ordinance. Sheets commented about the need for additional signage as the motion was approved in April for the “no smoking” signs to be displayed at the parks.

“The no smoking has been in our ordinance for the parks anyway, it’s just never been enforced ,” Sheets said. “We didn’t have any signage there. In order to enforce that there, I felt we need some signage that people were aware.”

Healthy Communities Executive Director Lorra Archibald thanked the city for its effort in enacting the ordinance prohibiting smoking in local public spaces.

“We are thankful to the leadership of our City to make the health and safety of our citizens a priority,” Archibald said.

The Frankfort Parks Department will continue to host numerous events throughout the summer that it hopes community members will enjoy, such as the movies in the park, the summer concert series and more alongside opportunities to play on the playgrounds, cool off at the splash pad and enjoy the animals at the TPA Park petting zoo. For more information regarding upcoming events, visit the Frankfort Parks Department Facebook page.