Pokemon fans ask for longer hours in Clarion park

A Pokemon Go player attempts to catch Charmander, one of Pokemon's most iconic creature. (AP)
The Clarion County commissioners’ conference room was filled Tuesday night with players of a popular video game application.

A recent craze with the mobile application Pokemon GO has people flocking to public places, including local parks. Some people believe the hours of access to the parks should be extended.

A group of people who support extending the hours at Veterans Park in Clarion attended Tuesday’s Clarion County commissioners meeting to plead their case. Current hours at the park are from dawn until 10 p.m., and those who attended the meeting asked that the hours be extended until midnight.

The game requires players to go to various locations to receive prizes and catch virtual game characters.

Veterans Park is a hotspot for the game called Pokestop. Pokestops are virtual spots at businesses and landmarks where players can get supply items to enhance their game play, and this has resulted in more traffic at the park.

Commissioner Wayne Brosius made a motion to relax enforcement of the hours at the park, then some discussion ensued.

“The game has provided Clarion County with an organic community building opportunity,” said Raymond Holh, a Clarion resident and a Pokemon GO player.

Another resident claimed that those playing the game at the park provide other benefits to the community.

“I have watched those playing the game provide their own trash bags when garbage cans are full,” Clarion resident Andrew Cable said.

Along with community benefits, Cable cited personal health benefits due to the walking required by the game.

The game has proved to be beneficial in other ways as well. Military veteran Aaron Hammond said the game is helping him during the sleepless nights he experiences as a result of his post traumatic stress disorder.

Commissioners voted 2-1 against the motion Ted Tharan and Ed Heasley casting the no votes and Brosius voting in favor.

“We aren’t saying there’s no way it will happen,” Tharan said. He added that the commissioners had to take the opinions of sheriff Rex Munsee and ground supervisor Bob Smith into consideration, and neither men supported the motion.

The issue has been passed to Clarion Borough Council for further discussion. Borough council will next meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Clarion Library.