UPDATE (8/25/16): Here’s a statement from the Milwaukee County “Exeggutor” himself, Chris Abele.
Yesterday we brought you the story of how Milwaukee County Parks had contacted the makers of Pokemon GO, asking them to remove Pokemon sites from county parks—specifically the ever-popular Lake Park. Today, following an outpouring of comments and emails, the Milwaukee County Executive office has addressed the issue. While not an official statement, this is the email that the office has been sending concerned Poke-players:
Thank you for contacting the County Executive’s office regarding Pokémon Go in Milwaukee County Parks.
Our office’s priorities will remain as they have been for Milwaukee County – ending chronic homelessness, reducing recidivism in our justice system, and strengthening families.
We have heard from dozens of constituents reaching out to share their stories of discovering local parks with friends and family, how many miles they’ve walked, and even how much weight they have lost in the process. Overall, we appreciate what the Pokémon Go phenomenon has done for our community. This game has brought people outside, exploring their own neighborhood and discovering new ones for the first time. The game teaches players about hidden gems, historical monuments, and local other oddities like nothing that has come before.
The Parks Department has taken several measures to accommodate the increased traffic in Lake Park. Additional garbage cans and cigarette butt disposals have been placed along pathways, park patrol at closing time has increased with the help of the Sheriff’s Department, and cleanup crews have been out in the park helping remove garbage.
We are not asking for Niantic to remove Pokémon Go sites from Milwaukee County Parks. Instead, we are hoping to partner with them and share the cost of increased parks maintenance the County is facing since the debut of the game.
We understand the concerns shared by many neighbors of our County Parks. We ask that all visitors to our parks be respectful of the neighbors – this includes abiding parking restrictions, being mindful of litter, and complying with park hours of operation.
Please feel free to contact the County Executive’s office in the future regarding this issue or any other issue you feel needs my attention.
Constituent Services Coordinator
Milwaukee County Executive Office
901 N. 9th St. – Room 306
Milwaukee, WI 53233