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Council to vote on tougher tobacco restrictions in parks

The Woodbury City Council is expected to vote Wednesday, March 25 on an ordinance amendment that would take a tougher stance on tobacco use in city parks.

Earlier this month, the city's parks and recreation commission voted to recommend approval of a parks ordinance amendment that would ban any form of tobacco use within 100 feet of any public beach, athletic field or playground.

The recommended ordinance amendment state that tobacco use would be restricted "within 100 feet of any beach, athletic field or playground contained within any public site or open space. No tobacco product shall be used by any person upon the grounds of the facilities at Central Park, Ojibway Park or the Bielenberg Sports Center."

Parks department staff first brought up the tobacco amendment to the city council last spring in response to several instances where local authorities noticed Woodbury High School students smoking in nearby Ojibway Park.

Parks staff posed the option for the council to consider banning smoking in all parks and trails in Woodbury, which the council chose not to support.

Also on the council agenda:

The Woodbury City Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday, March 25, on an upcoming construction project that will install a concrete and bituminous overlay along I-494 from Lake Road to I-94 and will likely add a noise wall to the corridor along the southeast quadrant of I-494/Lake Road.

The $40 million improvement project, which is completely state funded, will also add a continuous third lane to that stretch of I-494.

The state Department of Transportation will head the project that will take place in two stages beginning in May and again in January 2010.

The city and MN-DOT have held several public meetings on the project. Several residents were supportive of the noise wall, but some residents and business opposed the noise wall, a city report stated.

Upon completion of the hearing the council is expected to vote on a resolution that would give the city's endorsement of the project.

The Woodbury City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. inside the council chambers at city hall.