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      Tobacco use ordinance in Ironwood

      Ironwood's public parks may have a cleaner future, thanks to a new city ordinance that would ban smoking in the parks.

      If put into effect, this ordinance will ban all use of tobacco, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and all other forms, from being used in any of the city's public parks.

      City Manager Scott Erickson says putting together the ordinance has been a work in progress.

      "It's been something we've talked about over a number of months. We've met with the Michigan Department of Health, they've helped us with the creation of the ordinance, or a draft ordinance, and we're reviewing with our city commission and our residents to see what's right for the city of Ironwood," says Erickson.

      Some residents are concerned about all of the parks having the ban and if it is really necessary.

      Other residents, like Jack Huotari, agree with the ordinance but with some modifications.

      "I feel it's only right to have receptacles put for smokers in designated smoking areas so they can put butts and debris aside from the park, so the park isn't littered," says Huotari.

      Ironwood City Commissioner Rick Semo says that the size of each individual park may play a factor in determining the modification of the ordinance.

      "Some thoughts were brought up that some of the parks, being a little bit bigger...maybe we don't have to restrict use in the entire park," says Semo.

      Officials are also worried about tourism numbers falling with the ban in place, but they say the community's health is the number one priority.

      There is once exception to the rule, however. Curry Tourist Park renters can smoke in the park with no consequences.

      Semo says, "When you rent a space there, that essentially becomes your home. And I'm OK with people smoking in their homes."

      A meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. central time, January 28, in the city commissioner's office to decide the outcome of the ordinance and what will officially be put in place.

      The public is welcome to attend the meeting and express their opinions and concerns freely.