WONDER LAKE – If you’ve taken a walk through any of Wonder Lake’s six parks this fall, you’ve likely spotted new anti-smoking signs.
With a $10,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Health and administered through the McHenry County Department of Health, the village of Wonder Lake was able to erect five signs last month, all asking residents to keep smoking out of the parks. The grant, which was received in March, also allowed the village to add the anti-smoking message to existing signs as well as a float in the Fourth of July parade.
The signs provide geological and historical information about areas of the parks, and at the bottom of the signs it reads, “Proud to be Smoke Free!”
The funding for the grant originated from past lawsuit settlements by tobacco companies and was not paid for by taxpayer money, said Larry Reinhard, village trustee.
“We chose a subtle message rather than a negative message,” Reinhard said. “You get further with subtle messages than with blunt messages, in my opinion.”
Reinhard, a retired schoolteacher, said he has always preached a no-smoking message to his students, and he was glad to see the signs posted in the parks.
“We don’t want to be giving children a positive image of smoking,” he said. “We don’t want to expose children to any bad habits.”
Reinhard said the signs are less about punishing those who smoke than keeping the parks clean and sending a good message.
“The objective isn’t apprehending people. The objective is encouraging people not to smoke.”