The City Commission took the advice of its parks advisory board and approved a smoking ban in all city parks.
But it also took it one step further.
Commissioners asked city staff to examine the feasibility of banning smoking on all city property, including places like the entire City Hall campus.
Sarasota County government and Sarasota Memorial Hospital have instituted similar campus-wide smoking bans.
The parks advisory board wanted to impose the ban in part to drive out the criminal vagrants many residents believe have taken over Selby Five Points Park.
Board members also recommended to the commission removing the remaining six benches in Five Points Park, but commissioners instead voted to break up any groupings of benches.
So the city will begin looking at areas that have two or more benches placed in close proximity. For example, the city will remove three of Five Points Park’s six benches and place them in other parts of downtown.
The goal is to prevent vagrants from gathering en masse.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].