Council discusses Pokémon in Midway
MIDWAY – Near the end of an otherwise uneventful city council meeting Monday, council member Libby Warfield raised a subject not expressed before in council history: Pokémon Go. She said her grandson recently asked her, “Grandmother, did you know you’ve got a Pokémon Go gem in the Sons and Daughters of Relief Cemetery?” Warfield said she told him no, and asked the council whether the search for items in the popular game posed any kind of a threat to the cemetery. “From what I understand, Midway’s loaded with them (Pokémon Go items),” said council member Kaye Nita Gallagher. “That’s okay, but I don’t really like one in our cemetery,” Warfield replied. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he believed the game’s “pocket monsters” and other items are generated by an algorithm. “I guess we can monitor the situation, see if it becomes a problem. … And if it’s bringing kids out to a historical site like that, well …” Vandegrift said. “I monitor it daily. And they (the players) just stand there. The only danger is that they might get hit by a car, but probably not right there,” council member Sara Hicks said. “Last week, they had one at the post office, and the traffic – there were cars everywhere,” said council member Steven Craig. “They (the makers of the game) only do it in public spaces. That’s why cemeteries are fair game,” said Hicks. Council member Dan Roller said there were rarely visitors after dark to the historic African-American cemetery, which is behind Midway Presbyterian Church. “But now, all of a sudden, there are cars pulled in there at night, and generally, people living in that area are wondering what’s going on,” said Roller. Vandegrift said if the situation becomes a problem, the council could post new rules. “Pokémon Go has officially infiltrated every part of our society,” Vandegrift said. As the conversation concluded, several young people looking at their cell phones walked slowly past the front window of Midway City Hall. Cemetery House Craig raised another cemetery-related issue: what to do with the old caretaker’s house in the Midway Cemetery. He asked whether any progress had been made on selling the building. Vandegrift said he wasn’t sure how to proceed with the matter. The house, some of which is in disrepair, would have to be moved from the cemetery or torn down. Vandegrift said the city could declare it surplus property and put it up for bid, which would include the removal. “I just hate to waste a house,” said Hicks. Roller said part of the building is a historic structure, but the back portion features fairly new materials. “It may be a partial tear-down and a partial removal,” Roller said. Vandegrift said city attorney Phil Moloney would prepare a RFP (request for proposal) and advertise it in The Sun. Parks and Recreation Board Vandegrift discussed the ongoing improvements at Walter Bradley Jr. Park spearheaded by a citizens’ advisory committee appointed by the council. He said the city had begun applying for building permits to build a bridge across the creek there and suggested the city create a seven-member parks and recreation board to deal with the park and other matters. The first reading of an ordinance creating the board could be held Aug. 15. Fall Festival The council unanimously approved downtown street closures and event permits for the Sept. 16 to 18 Midway Fall Festival. Organizer Kenny Smith said this year’s festival will feature vendors in 140 spaces, including a chef from Louisiana offering authentic Creole cooking. “I’m going to put her right in front of my place,” Smith joked. EDA reappointment The council voted unanimously to reappoint Ron Layman to a three-year term as Midway’s representative to the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA). Layman was appointed in March to fill the term of Ed Crowley, whose term expired June 30.