Youngsville looks to ban tobacco from sports complex

The City Council voted Thursday to introduce an ordinance that would ban all tobacco products in the new youth sports complex set to open in the spring.

“We are trying to promote health, fitness and the well-being of the citizens with this complex,” said Councilman Ken Ritter. “I think it is appropriate that we set the right example” with the tobacco ban measure.

The ban would prohibit the use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco on the entire property.

There will be no designated smoking area, said Tim Robichaux, director of the Youngsville Sports Complex.

“We just don’t want it in the facility at all,” Robichaux said.

He said the ban “fits into what we are trying to do with the complex” in terms of promoting health and setting the right example for young people.

Mayor Wilson Viator said he agreed with the council’s decision to introduce the ordinance, although he had suggested setting up a designated smoking area.

“I felt that if we had one area designated where someone could leave and go, that would be OK,” Viator said. “The council felt that wasn’t necessary and look, I agree with them. I think it is great for the health of the kids. I am in full support of it, and I think the people of Youngsville will support it too.”

Viator acknowledged Youngsville has a large number of smokers but said the people who know about the ordinance have reacted positively.

“With the way society is going, there is anti-smoking everywhere,” he said.

“Even in bars. I know we do have a lot of smokers, but others are implementing this and having success. I don’t see why we can’t implement it and have success in a smoke-free environment. I don’t think we will have a problem.”

Viator and Robichaux agreed that it could be tough to enforce the ordinance, but Robichaux said those who violate it will be warned, then asked to leave.

“I think the fact that we are doing it in the beginning of a brand new facility, we will have an easier time to enforce it, and it is really for the betterment of the citizens,” Robichaux said.

Councilman Tim Barbier and Mayor Pro-Tempore Brenda Burley were not present at the meeting.

The sports complex has been behind schedule, mostly because of weather-related setbacks. Robichaux said the next two months will be the busiest.

“We are in the process of ordering our facility equipment and working on signage,” Robichaux said. “Our website will go live at the end of this month. We’re finalizing concessionary details and finalizing all contracts.

“Right now, we can’t get into any buildings or anything. By mid-May, the grass will be ready, and I think by the end of May, we will be playing.”