DANBURY, Conn. — As the Pokemon Go craze continues to grow, an argument between Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and players of the virtual game has come to a head on social media.
Via Twitter, Boughton has told players of the virtual game to stay out of a garden honoring fallen soldiers at the city's Rogers Park, which has proven to be a popular spot for Pokemon Go players.
"The WW II Rose Arbor in Rogers Park in Danbury is a Pokestop," Boughton told Daily Voice in an interview. "There is a plaque there that lists the names of all the Danburians who lost their lives fighting in World War II."
This garden has been set aside as a place to remember and honor these residents who died for their country, Boughton said.
"It's not respectful for people to run around this area, playing Pokemon. Kids don't get it," he said.
"We put in a request to Niantic (the software company that has developed Pokemon Go) to get them to no longer make that area a Pokestop," Boughton said. "The request should take a few days to process."
In the public Facebook page "Team Odish!," which has 176 members, Danbury resident Tom Capozziello strongly expressed his disagreement with Boughton's viewpoint about the park.
"I believe that this game has brought hundreds of people who would not have otherwise experienced this gorgeous monument to American history to view and appreciate it, and reflect on what it means to be an American," Capozziello wrote in a recent post. I think it goes without saying that every person who comes to Roger's Park has a deep appreciation for the Freedom that comes with being a proud American."
Capozziello also wrote that he intends on writing a formal letter to Boughton about his views, and either mailing it or directly delivering it to City Hall.
The Danbury Police Department backed up Boughton's stance is a series of safety tips: "We do not consider playing Pokemon Go to be appropriate decorum on cemetery and memorial grounds."
Boughton also took the matter to Twitter in recent days to debate the issue.
Here is a sample of the exchange on Twitter between the mayor and a Pokemon fan:
- @MayorMark: "The Rose Garden is a sacred place. It's a War Memorial dedicated to the dead of WW II."
- Tyler Munzenmayer @TylerTheBartndr: @MayorMark "I thought that War Memorial was the war memorial. I also thought republicans were for less government."
- Tyler Munzenmayer @TylerTheBartndr @MayorMark: "In fact, I haven't seen this many people downtown since before @MayorMark was in office. #danburysTrump"
- @MayorMark: "Oh good grief. Just stay out of War Memorials where respect and remember the fallen."
The Danbury Police Department said few problems have been reported in the city with Pokemon Go and offered the following tips to stay safe while playing Pokemon Go:
- Don’t play the game alone. Have another person with you to help keep a look out for potential dangers. Dangers can not only be your immediate landscape surroundings, but strangers who may try and lure the player to a secluded location.
- Stay in areas you are familiar with and don’t trespass on private party. Respect other peoples privacy. We do not consider playing Pokemon Go to be appropriate decorum on cemetery and memorial grounds.
- Never play Pokemon Go while operating a motor vehicle. Under Connecticut’s cellphone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.
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