BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) - Boardman Park has seen a large increase in their casual visitors, which, in part, is attributed to Pokémon GO.
The mobile game was launched in the United States in 2016, but it has remained popular with many users. Pokemon GO brings players outdoors to find, battle and trade different Pokémon creatures.
Executive Director of Boardman Township Park Daniel Slagle, Jr. says their casual visitors' category, which includes those who come to play Pokémon GO, make up the second largest portion of visitors, second only to those that reserve park facilities.
"Pokémon GO has had a positive impact on the park, primarily because it has introduced the park and its benefits to so many new people," said Slagle. "The impact to the community has also been positive because Pokémon players are now experiencing the benefit of being in a wholesome recreational and outdoor environment."
Slagle says it's wonderful when he sees families walking and playing the game because access to good quality public parks is beneficial to public health.
Some members of the Pokémon GO Youngstown Chapter said the game made them visit the park more often, and others who said they rarely visited now go to the park multiple times a week.
Tiff Cartagena, 30, said she goes to the park to play Pokémon GO so often that she and her fiancé decided to hold their wedding and reception in one of the halls there.
"If not for Pokémon GO, we may not have discovered the hall and all of its amenities," said Cartagena.
Slagle said he has not submitted any requests for PokéStops or gyms in the park but believes Boardman Park was targeted as a spot for Pokémon GO because it has 227 acres of recreational green space.
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