Monticello Community Center establishes new tobacco, smoking policy

Smokers congregating outside of the Monticello Community Center will need to move further away the building entrances when they step outside and light up.
Monticello City Council members approved a revised tobacco policy April 22. The policy change was recommended by staff and the MCC Advisory Board.
Community Center Director Kitty Baltos provided background about the policy change in a background memo.
She stated the goal is to move smoking further away from the center doors, making entry into the building more pleasant. Guests and center users wouldn’t be subjected to smoke-filled air, Baltos said.
Smokers will have to move to perimeter sidewalks with appropriate cigarette cans. Facility renters will have to use the smoking area near the Mississippi Room enclosed patio.
In June 2004, the Monticello City Council approved a tobacco policy for the community center building and grounds based upon an MCC Advisory Board recommendation.
That policy allowed smoking 30 feet away from the east and west entrances of the facility and on the enclosed patio for guests of the renters of the Mississippi Room.
“We are asking the council to approve a change to that policy,” Baltos wrote in her council memo.
According to Baltos, three of the center’s cigarette butt cans have been stolen recently.
It will cost the city $1,000 to purchase a heavy-duty can that will be chained to the ground or a bench.
Staff will also need to provide signage for each of the center entrances to explain the new policy, Balton stated in her memo.
“We will need to educate our guests and particularly our facility renters who are often the ones who congregate in groups at the entrances creating the gauntlet of smoke,” Baltos wrote.
“This can be easily accomplished by asking our renters to orientate their guests on our smoking areas,” she added. “We also believe that most people will see where the cigarette cans are located and naturally move toward them to smoke.”
Baltos said the  MCC Advisory Board felt a full smoking ban would not work because such action could potentially deter rental guests from choosing the community center as a venue.
Additionally, Baltos said a ban would make it more difficult for neighbors such as the Minnesota National Guard’s 257th Military Police Company when they use the building on drill weekends.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at [email protected]