TAMPA (FOX 13) - People who live near Ballast Point Park are saying “Pokémon Go away!” after it has been practically taken over by the game’s Tampa players. Residents have gone so far as to ask the makers of the game, Niantic to remove the park’s Pokéstop.
Meanwhile, Tampa police are trying to crack down on hordes of gamers who flock to Ballast Point Park every night - trespassing after dark and causing traffic trouble for neighbors.
FOX 13 News went to the park, just off Bayshore Boulevard, Friday evening and found at least 100 people at the park after it closed. A crowd of as many as 200 have been reported since the game became popular in early July.
Police said trying to regulate the crowd is bothersome because officers cannot focus on their regular patrols. One officer had to use a stun gun to detain an unruly player who reportedly refused to leave earlier in the week. He was one of more than 150 people in the park after it closed that particular night.
Players who spoke to FOX 13 said the best time to come to the park – in terms of game play – is at night. That’s when the rare Pokémon come out.
"If something rare pops up, someone is going to yell and you will just see everybody go run in that direction," Pokémon Go player Hunter Keeton said.
The game isn't quite as fun for neighbors, though.
"It causes traffic tie ups. Some folks who arrive and there's already a bunch of people there, if there's no good parking, they're just parking wherever," Steve Hegarty with Tampa PD explained.
"This is the first time I've had to drive around maybe 15 or 20 minutes waiting for someone to leave. It was a little frustrating," park visitor Jared Troy said.
After multiple complaint calls from neighbors, Tampa police have contacted Niantic to have Ballast Point removed as a Pokéstop. Niantic has a form on its website allowing property owners to request their location be removed, but the requests are not automatically granted. Tampa police are still waiting for a reply.
In the meantime, expect to see officers patrolling the park more often, ticketing people parked illegally.