City of Des Moines releases statement on Pokémon Go craze


The City of Des Moines released the following statement on Thursday, Aug. 25 about the Pokémon Go craze that’s been affecting both the marina and Beach Park, still citing the game as having a negative impact.

“…the recent unprecedented surge in use of City facilities as a result of the game has caused an unsustainable amount of traffic and negative impacts on City facilities, resources, and citizen enjoyment of public areas,” the statement said.

The City adds that “the City has had to hire private security to place barriers at the entrance and exit to enforce the nightly closure. Despite this, the Police Department is reporting that between 50-100 vehicles are illegally driven around the barriers on any given night, resulting in 911 calls from local residents and the diversion of police officers from patrolling the streets to clearing the Marina parking lot instead. Officers will respond to the Marina several times a night as vehicles return to the Marina after being cleared.

“The City encourages its residents and visitors to be active and to enjoy the many beautiful parks and the Marina in a responsible and courteous fashion and to also be observant of park rules and respectful to fellow users and neighboring residents.”.

Here’s the full text:

The City of Des Moines takes great pride in offering accessible and well-maintained parks, facilities, and open spaces for our citizens and visitors to experience and enjoy on a daily basis. While the City actively encourages the use of the Marina and parks as a public place for activity and recreation, and recognizes the positive aspects that Pokemon Go can provide, such as increased movement and exercise for users, the recent unprecedented surge in use of City facilities as a result of the game has caused an unsustainable amount of traffic and negative impacts on City facilities, resources, and citizen enjoyment of public areas.

Contrary to Pokemon Go, which can be played 24 hours a day, the Marina parking lot closes for vehicles daily at 10pm. As a result, the City has had to hire private security to place barriers at the entrance and exit to enforce the nightly closure. Despite this, the Police Department is reporting that between 50-100 vehicles are illegally driven around the barriers on any given night, resulting in 911 calls from local residents and the diversion of police officers from patrolling the streets to clearing the Marina parking lot instead. Officers will respond to the Marina several times a night as vehicles return to the Marina after being cleared.

Additional negative impacts include reports of public alcohol and marijuana consumption, excessive littering and garbage accumulation, sanitation issues, noise complaints, parking shortages, and the interference with special events, activities, and the casual use of the Marina and Beach Park. It was for these reasons that the City of Des Moines requested that Niantic Labs remove the Pokemon Go Stops and Gyms from the Des Moines Marina and the Des Moines Beach Park. The City is aware that the request may not be granted and that even if it is, it may not curtail the heavy use of the Marina and the Beach Park as the game can still be played without the Pokestops and Gyms.

The City will continue to review the matter and if there is a viable way to decrease the negative impacts associated with the game in order to continue to fulfill the City’s goal of providing citizens and visitors safe and well maintained parks and open spaces, the City will consider all options. It is in the public interest for the City of Des Moines to preserve, protect and maintain park and recreation areas and conservancy resources within its jurisdictional boundaries and it will diligently continue to do so. The City encourages its residents and visitors to be active and to enjoy the many beautiful parks and the Marina in a responsible and courteous fashion and to also be observant of park rules and respectful to fellow users and neighboring residents.


Comments

18 Responses to “City of Des Moines releases statement on Pokémon Go craze”
  1. Teniel says:

    Congratulations Des Moines….the families and respectful players will find another city that welcomes diversity and their patronage to local business and public spaces, while the drunks and troublemakers will likely continue to hang out long after the Pokestops are removed. Very disappointing leadership that obviously only caters to the “elite” of the city.

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  2. Chris Clevish says:

    Very disappointed to see this. The poll from the earlier blog post show overwhelming support allowing the game in the marina and beach park. This is a classic example of managing to the exception and not the majority. The city of Des Moines has issued the official “get off my lawn” warning. The discussion should now focus on “acceptable use” of public spaces and who ultimately can make those decisions. If the activity had been deemed “acceptable” and not generational by the council, the city, the vocal residents would the response have been different?

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    • BirchCreek says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Scott Maline says:

    Just as the City of SeaTac is controlled by the will of the Angle Lake dwellers, the City of DesMoines seems to be controlled by the owners of the condos that border the marina and the elderly. This has long been the reason that DesMoines has not been developed into a prosperous town, but rather a private boardwalk for the elite few. Yes, there are good and bad Pokemon Go players, just like any other cross section of people. Those found violating the closure barriers after the park closes should be issued citations and if they receive multiple citations have their vehicles impounded. Show up with a tow truck a couple times and this will end. It is wrong to penalize the innocent over the actions of the few.

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  4. Flo Lo says:

    Two questions:

    Who calls 911 for noise and cars illegally parked at the marina – does the city not have a non-emergency police number?

    Is the city ticketing cars who are parked at the marina after hours? What about folks who they catch trespassing?

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  5. Josh hertzberg says:

    Hire people to patrol the area and hand out tickets. A few more jobs, people will start to get it and there’s more money for the city.

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  6. Stephen says:

    Very disappointed in this response. I go to the farmer’s market during the summer, and enjoy the local restaurants. I like Des Moines, but instead of promoting community you’re just pushing people out. I would expect these words to come out of the mouth of someone trying to “protect” a gated community, not the board for a town that should be encouraging tourism. Seeing a pompous response like this incentivizes me to take my money elsewhere.

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  7. Limited Parking says:

    Quick, someone open an ice cream shop and a Gyros place and a sushi spot and a Taco Time and a tiny gourmet hot dog stand and a way cool barber shop

    Rate: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  8. J Davies says:

    I’m 3rd generation Des Moines. my grandfather lived there since the early 1900’s. Brick Streets. And where the marina now sits, dug geoducks on the beautiful beach that once was there. My father was in charge of Waterland Festival for many many years. As a member of the MRHS band, I decivated the marina pier. When I first learned to drive, I spent many a lovely late late evening rambling through the marina.

    We built this marina, and sacrificed a lovely beach, for ALL people, especially Des Moines. It’s not the private quiet space for retirees, rich condo people, and snooty yacht owners.

    This space needs to be restored to full public access, 24/7, as it was intended since the get go. And all of you on the City Council need to be voted OUT.

    – James Davies
    MRHS Class of ’80

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  9. Lance says:

    Heaven forbid! Playing a game in a park?

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  10. Shane stender says:

    Sad to see this reaction from the city. What a shame that people are flocking to our city resources. Wouldn’t want to disturb the old people and vagrants. Look how about embracing it. Hold official pokeman parties. Let business setup, let restaurants and food trucks come and sell space to them. Have local merchants get involved. Make it a profit opportunity. But our city management doesn’t try to promote city revenue with growth they just take furlow days and say that’s a plan to bring the city back.

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  11. MM says:

    I for one eat at Red Robin, Wallys, Taco Time, Auntie Irene’s. On Wednesday’s I buy from food trucks and booths that are set up. I follow park rules and leave by 10pm. I pick up my trash. I enjoy playing pokemon at the marina. I enjoy the sunsets while playing. I have never seen cops down there. I see families playing and majority follow the rules. The game has got me out and walking around. Even lost some weight. Just walking bored me. Pokemon has gave me something to do while walking. I have been called names, snubbed, told to get a life by locals. Yes, people should follow park rules. And the ones not following the rules fined.

    State parks have Rangers who have police powers under RCW laws. Parking permits issued on a daily, multiple day or annual basis. Any infractions shall be assessed a monetary penalty. No penalty may exceed $500 for each offence. RCW 7.84

    With the technology we have now days everything is on our phones. From email, banking, gaming, finding a place to eat or directions. People make a living from their phones. Some people may not agree but it’s the era we live in now.

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    • Momx8 says:

      We have been going to the park and my 9 yo was called names as we were walking and looking at the baby fish and playing our games by a local who lives across the street as he told me what he thought of Pokémon go he was intoxicated . I walked off but be for I said thank u have a nice day we have always left before 930 I think they should ticket anyone in the park after 10 and tow their cars if in their I see a van who’s in the same spot every time we go I have over heard him say he lives in the parking lot

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  12. Jay says:

    I’m a Des Moines resident who often uses the park, usually a rest stop on my runs/bikes up and down the Des Moines creek trail … and I must admit, I have been a tad annoyed at the new crowds of phone zombies at the park. However, more visitors to the city can only be a good thing in terms of business so I disagree with the City’s attack on this (temporary) phenomena. Downtown Des Moines has too many empty store fronts and needs revitalization: more customers needed! And let it be noted: there has been a problem with drug use and piles of garbage at the park long before Pokemon Go entered the picture! I think the city targeting this specific group of visitors is not really addressing the problem. Trespassing after hours is an issue though … can we bump up the cost of a Marina trespassing ticket to make up for the extra enforcement cost?

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  13. JD says:

    I’ve been there to play several times and the only rude people I’ve seen have been those not playing the game who will harass players and call them zombies, or drones. Granted I’ve never been past ten, but it seems like that problem is easily fixable by towing and ticketing as others have pointed out.

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  14. Sarah Weiler says:

    My son and I have been down there several weekends in a row playing pokemon. I agree with the others that the locals are actually ruder then the pokemon go players. Every weekend I have seen the same group who manage to get the spots on either side of the spot down by the pier that is striped to allow a walkway into the parking lot. They always set up their lawn chairs, bbq grills and other items and proceed to block access to the parking lot. At least once, a gentleman who appeared to be intoxicated, got aggravated at my son and I and started swinging his arms around yelling about how we were ruining his enjoyment of nature. NO ONE was even near him because he had backed into that spot, opened his tail gate so it blocked half the side walk and was standing in front of it. Now most of the time my son and I walk out in the parking lot just to avoid that area because I am worried what he might do next time. Every time we go down, I make sure to visit at least one or two businesses in the area just to show my appreciation to the town for the wonderful marina. How about the city council members actually come down to the pier some weekend and interact with the people there before listening to what seems to be a minority of people who seem to think they are more important than the rest of the world?

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