UPDATE (8/25/16): Here’s a statement from the Milwaukee County “Exeggutor” himself, Chris Abele.
UPDATE (8/24/16): Here’s an email from the Milwaukee County Exec office to concerned Pokemon Go fans.
Last month we brought you a time-lapse video of hundreds of Pokemon Go players swarming through Milwaukee’s Lake Park, catching ’em all and whatnot. The East Side park has been a Poke-hot-spot ever since the incredibly popular mobile game launched back in July, attracting oodles of folks who might not ever step outside and experience the wonders of our fine parks system. After all, Pikachus and Sharpedos aside, isn’t enjoying our parks what it’s all about?
Apparently not. In a letter posted to the Milwaukee Reddit, it’s revealed that Milwaukee County Parks have just about had it with your gall dang Jigglypuffs, thank you very much. In what appears to be a letter on Milwaukee County Parks stationary, dated August 16, and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Niantic, Inc., John Hanke, Milwaukee County Parks hate the Poke-game (but not the Poke-player):
Dear Mr. Hanke,
The Pokemon GO phenomenon is on full display at Milwaukee County’s parks, most notably at its beloved and historic Lake Park (National Register of Historic Places #93000339). Indeed, this park is a national treasure, designed by the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted, who once described his park work as a “democratic development of the highest significance.” […] Lake Park has quickly become known as one of the most active Pokemon Go areas in the Midwest.
The Pokemon phenomenon has introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals to our park system and doubtless has resulted in many new positive recreation experiences. The Milwaukee County Parks, Recreation and Culture Department applauds those outcomes. However, there have been other unanticipated and negative consequences from Pokemon-related activities which have caused significant disruption both within Lake Park and in adjacent neighborhoods. These include daily traffic congestion, parking issues, littering, compacted and damaged turf, risks to sensitive flora and fauna habitats, and noncompliance with park system operation hours.
This letter is provided to notify you of the Milwaukee County parks’ policy related to virtual geocaches and to require your immediate compliance with that policy, which includes prior written permission before placement of a virtual geocache in any Milwaukee County park. Niantic, Inc. must complete a separate notification placement for each intended Pokemon GO site within the Milwaukee County parks’ system […] As noted, should Niantic, Inc. be granted permission to place Pokemon Go sites within any Milwaukee County park, it will thereafter be responsible for regularly monitoring each cache (4 times per year is recommended) and reporting vandalism or deterioration of property.
Be advised that until such approval is obtained, Niantic, Inc. must deactivate and remove all Pokemon GO sites, including Poke stops and Gyms within Milwakee County parks, including, but not limited to Lake Park, located between 2900 North Lake Drive and 2800 East Kenwood Drive, Milwaukee Wisconsin. (In particular, the following coordinates are from the overlook path of the Lake Park Waterfall ravine.)
The letter—signed by Milwaukee County Parks Director John Dargle, Jr., and Interim Corporation Council Colleen Foley—is originally an attachment on an email apparently sent from Milwaukee County Board Legislative Assistant Cheryl Wankowski. That email includes these additional Poke-grievances:
MPD – 40 traffic tickets written, vendors only advised to leave
Sheriff’s Department – 102 citations written, 50% for curfew and the rest for alcohol, dogs in park & mics.
MC Parks Rangers – 289 violations written
In another email posted to the Milwaukee Reddit, Lake Park Friends discuss an upcoming meeting about the Poke-plague, set for Wednesday, September 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Marcia Coles Community Room:
County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, Parks, Energy & Environment Committee Chairman Supervisor Jason Haas, and representatives from the Milwaukee County Parks Department and Milwaukee County Corporation Council will be guests at the upcoming September 7 Historic Watertower Neighborhood Association meeting to address questions regarding Pokemon Go in Lake Park. The public is invited to attend.