Smoking being Challenged at Whitewater Parks

February 23rd, 2021

By Austin Dowdall/The Capstone

Matt Shulgit proposes to make Whitewater the fourth city in Wisconsin to have a city wide ban on smoking/vaping at any Whitewater park. Shuligit argues that this proposal will keep the public healthy. No smoking/vaping in public parks would help prevent autoimmune diseases and will stop second hand smoking.

This was an unpopular bill amongst the common council on Tuesday. “I agree with your assessment, that we should not be smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco either, and all three are unenforceable. I always vote against any ordinances that I find uniforcible,” Councilman Jim Allen told the council.

The council is for doing something to help with the safety of the Whitewater community. They think this ordinance should be broken down to be more specific. They also show interest in putting signs up to try to get citizens not to smoke at the public parks.

Councilwoman Carol McCormick said that parks and recreation was onboard for this bill 2 years ago, but she also agreed that it is hard to enforce this rule. McCormick proposed to focus more on a specific area, like around children’s play areas. She argues it will help prevent second hand smoke with children.

No smoking near playgrounds might be the future in Whitewater, “The city of Appleton has a prohibition on smoking within 20 feet of playgrounds, which seems like a sensible approach,” said Councilman Patrick Singer to the council. 

Scooter report

Representatives from Bird Ride inc. came to the city of Whitewater to propose the idea of a minimum of 100 of their stand-up scooters for the public use.

These scooters are in many other cities that have universities according to their website. Bird’s scooters are even as close as Milwaukee. 

These scooters are not to be used on sidewalks, they should be used on bike lanes on the road, and must follow all traffic laws. 

To use these scooters, you must download the Bird app. When you are in the app it shows you where the closest scooter is available, then you scan the QR code with your app, and you are ready to ride.

Scooter rentals might be the future here in Whitewater, but that will have to wait for a later meeting. “This item I’m gonna request that it be pulled or not discussed. We did as staff obtain a request from a company Bird Scooter inc., and we would like to bring this back for discussion or consideration,” Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper said to the Council.

These scooters could be the future of Whitewater, Clapper wants to make sure that he and the Council “have all concerns resolved.”

Also on Tuesday:

  • City Finance Director Steve Hatten presented to the Council that the Finance Committee was able to pay off the Build America Bond 8 years sooner than expected. The effect of this will save the city of Whitewater 60 thousand dollars in interest this year.
  • The city of Whitewater has been using salt brine on the roads as a preventative measure before snowfall. Clapper wants to remind citizens to remove snow on all sidewalks. It is a city ordinance to have all snow removed 24 hours after a snowfall.
  • After-school programs have resummed here in Whitewater. Whitewater Aquatic and Fitness Center will be open to 50 percent starting in March.