Milwaukee County Parks not trying to remove Pokemon Go from Lake Park, director says

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County officials say they’re not trying to stop people from playing Pokemon Go at Lake Park, or any Milwaukee County Parks, for that matter — according to Milwaukee County Parks Director John Dargle.

Instead, Dargle said a letter from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and himself to Pokemon Go parent company Niantec asked to work with the county to manage high-traffic congestion, littering and parking issues.

Lake Park has been a Pokemon Go hot spot — leading to complaints from neighbors living around the park.

Abele said in a statement Thursday, August 25th county officials have asked Niantic to follow Milwaukee County’s permitting process for geocaching “so they can share in the responsibility of maintaining these spaces.”

Abele said Pokemon Go does not require a permit, and
reiterated that Milwaukee County Parks are open to Pokemon Go players.

Below is Abele’s complete statement:

“I believe strongly that access to public spaces inspires passion for parks as a part of people’s daily lives, helps promote a strong sense of community, and encourages learning and stewardship. From expanding our beer gardens to bringing futsal to Wisconsin, it’s always been our Instinct to enhance Milwaukee County’s award-winning Parks System and create opportunities to welcome more people to our Parks whenever possible.

That’s why I was discouraged by recent reports that created some confusion around the County’s position on Pokémon GO.

We’ve enjoyed watching the Pokémon GO phenomenon take off in our County parks. Pokémon GO has brought thousands of new users into our parks at events like our Poke-nic in Mitchell Park and just by visiting Pokestops all throughout the County.

While these parks visitors new and old are welcome additions, and most are respectful of our shared public spaces, the increase in traffic has unfortunately come with some bad park-use etiquette that harms the Prestige level of our system and leads to problems for neighbors who’ve chosen to make their homes near County parks.

I believe that the County’s PokéCoins should be spent investing in new amenities everyone can enjoy, expanding our Urban Parks Initiative, and upgrading more parks to be ADA accessible – not on additional park patrols and clean-up crews necessitated by a few bad Krabbies who won’t pick up their Muk. That’s why we’ve asked Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, to simply follow our documented permitting process for geocaching so that they can share in the responsibility of maintaining these spaces. It’s not a Mystic request; more than 400 local users have applied for and received these permits over the past eight years and we think large corporations should be held to the same standards.

To be clear, simply playing Pokémon GO doesn’t require a permit – that would be Tentacruel to ask of people who are just trying to get outside and explore our parks. Milwaukee County Parks are open and we want more people to Pika-choose them today and every day.”

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