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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.

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