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Bath council mulls smoking ban in parks, city flag

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Bath council mulls smoking ban in parks, city flag

BATH — An ordinance that would ban smoking in city parks and recreation areas went before the City Council Wednesday for the second and final time.

The panel, meeting after The Forecaster's holiday deadline, was also expected to vote whether to adopt a design for a proposed city flag.

The non-smoking ordinance would prohibit the use of tobacco products within 25 feet of parks and outdoor recreation facilities the city owns or maintains. These locations include Library, Waterfront and South End parks, all city boat launches, and trails and easements.

"(We) currently have a no-smoking policy on our recreation facilities by resolution," Police Chief Mike Field noted in a memo to the City Council earlier this year. "That has worked well and you do not see people smoking tobacco products at those venues."

He added that his department "will depend on the education, signage, and other message options to let people know of this new ordinance. We believe enforcement will be a last resort, and will not be needed in most cases. Therefore, I don't believe it will be a significant burden on the department."

Field pointed out that more than 80 percent of people do not smoke, and that he believes peer pressure will aid in enforcement of the ordinance.

The City Council, which unanimously approved first passage of the ordinance last month, at that time was also presented with lead designer Jeremy Hammond's flag proposal.

The panel's Flag Committee – Councilors Sean Paulhus, David Sinclair, Carolyn Lockwood, and formerly Mari Eosco – had offered input as Hammond honed the design, and agreed this spring on a design to propose to the rest of the City Council.

The top half of the design depicts a golden ship against a red background. The bottom half has two wavy blue lines, against a white surface. Hammond, a 27-year-old Bath resident who attended Morse High School with Paulhus and shared his interest in establishing a city flag, said last month that he looked for sources of heraldry and flags from early Bath history.

Hammond noted that much of the design is based on the coat of arms of the city of Bath in Somerset, England. The image was also inspired by the coat of arms of George Popham, the namesake of the colony where the first European ship built in New England, the Virginia, was constructed close to Bath in 1607-1608.

The two blue stripes in the design allude to Merrymeeting Bay and the Kennebec River, the two major bodies of water around Bath, Hammond said.

Explaining the rationale behind the vessel he incorporated into the design, Hammond noted that a square-rigged ship is shown on the Bath Police Department patch, the weathervane of City Hall, the city seal and the Morse High School logo.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.