03:34 GMT08 August 2020
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    A Milwaukee, Minnesota county parks director is claiming that Pokemon GO is violating a county ordinance requiring a permit to play games in a park, and he is asking the game developer to remove all ‘Poke stops’ from public squares, until a permit is obtained.

    A letter sent to game developer Niantic states that the company "must deactivate and remove all Pokemon GO sites, including Poke stops and Gyms within Milwaukee County parks.”

    The parks director, John Dargle, claims that his organization has received many complaints from park goers and neighbors about people flocking to parks to play the virtual scavenger hunt game.

    "We're asking them to submit a permit so that we understand who is the contact (and) how we can get a hold of them if this should get out of hand," Dargle stated.

    The city also claims that the increase in people flocking to the park has lead to more trash, so they are seeking a cut of Niantic’s earnings from the in-app purchases as well as from a local artist who has begun selling Pokemon themed art in the park.

    "Everybody likes fun recreation. The parks are there to be used by the public, but when it starts interfering with other people's ability to enjoy their own park, when there's more trash, you know, we have to get serious about it," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele told WISN. "Parks wants a cut of that revenue so we can help catch up on deferred maintenance.”

    Players argue that people have a right to play with their phones and enjoy parks, because that is the definition of civic space.

    "I understand the danger, the worry, the fears behind that, but from what I've seen, everyone plays respectfully here. Everyone's extremely polite, and I don't know why people wouldn't want the parks to be filled with people. That's what parks are made for," player Andres Amaya told the station.

    The city has set up a September 7 public meeting to address the issue.

    Niantic has not responded to Dargle’s letter.

    The Milwaukee Parks and Rec isn’t the first organization to try to cash in on the game’s popularity. A Michigan couple filed a lawsuit claiming that the augmented reality game “ruined their neighborhood,” and they are seeking a cut of the revenue.

    The couple lives across from Wahby Park, which contains a Poke gym and multiple stops, or, to be more precise, the GPS coordinates where players battle virtual creatures, find new Pokemon, and gather supplies for use in the game.

    The lawsuit aims to eliminate the implementation of Poke stops near private property without the owner’s permission, and seeks a cut of the profits from the game for residents who live near a stop.

    Niantic acknowledges stops are sometimes placed on or near private property, and has a notice on the app which states; "If you can't get to the Pokestop because it's on private property, there will be more just around the corner, so don't worry!"

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    Tags:
    Pokemon Go, Milwaukee County Parks, Niantic, Nintendo, Chris Abele, John Dargle, Milwaukee
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