Wow. We have learned so much this past week!
First and foremost, we’d like to thank those who took the time to share their concerns and educate us regarding the Pokémon Go game and its importance to many of our community members. We want to be clear to the Loveland community that we value ALL of our user groups and want them to feel welcome at our parks and facilities.
Last weekend was a perfect storm of unique events which, although challenging at the time, will ultimately help us improve as a department and better serve our community.
First, we had a wedding reservation with an alcohol permit at the Benson Sculpture Garden gazebo. The guidelines we set for alcohol permits require a 100-foot fenced radius around the shelter where the permit is held. The wedding party appropriately followed these guidelines which, unfortunately, resulted in a restroom facility and part of the sidewalk being sectioned off, thus restricting access for other park users. We are already working on a modification to our permit policy so that sidewalk access is not restricted in the future as a result of an alcohol permit.
Second, we had a large group of Pokémon Go players descend on the park for a Community Day. We originally thought this event was organized locally but have learned that it is Niantic, Inc., the app creator, that organizes these events. Pokémon Go players attend where/when they can.
Our original post is accurate in stating that organizers of large events (events that impact public services beyond the park site) should go through the Local Event permitting process with the City to utilize City facilities. In this particular case, the Pokemon Go community event at Benson Sculpture Garden last Saturday was not a traditionally organized event and would not be subject to the local event permit process.
What We’re Doing Going Forward
Thanks to thoughtful communication with members of the Pokémon Go community, we better understand the importance that Benson holds for Pokémon Go players.
As a result, we’ve contacted Niantic and asked for a small area surrounding the gazebo at Benson Sculpture Garden to be excluded from future community days while leaving the rest of the park active as a community day site.
Through this compromise, players can still utilize Benson Sculpture Garden to play the game while those who have reserved the gazebo can conduct their event without any overlap between parties using the park.
With regard to parking, there are not designated parking spaces for reservation holders. Most of the parking around the park is public parking on a first come, first served basis and therefore open to any users. As always, we ask that any park users respect signage both within the park and regarding parking.
We are hopeful that this solution is one that all of our park users can support.
The articles that appeared in the Denver Post and Loveland Reporter-Herald were taken directly from content on Facebook. No one from these news outlets contacted us for comments.
We value all of our park users and regret making any of them feel singled out and/or undervalued. The great thing about parks is that everyone has a place and is welcome. Parks make life better!