HomeCity NewsBocce Ball Pitched as Glenola Park Activity

Bocce Ball Pitched as Glenola Park Activity

First published in the Jan. 26 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

Residents who reside near Glenola Park expressed displeasure with the idea of a bocce ball area at a recent meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission, which held a discussion about adding a potential court to the triangular-shaped park along Angeles Crest Highway.
During a Jan. 11 meeting, staff liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission Arabo Parseghian presented a potential blueprint for a bocce ball court, with a nearby picnic table or outdoor seating, to commissioners. The potential recreational activity is part of a wider effort to encourage more use of La Cañada Flintridge’s six municipal parks.
The idea for bocce ball, as outlined to the Parks and Recreation Commission, is feasible at any park where space is available. It would require the building of courts at the designated parks and regular maintenance, including cleaning and retouching of the court surface as needed. Installation would require the removal of some grass.
According to the agenda item, “The popularity of the activity in the community has yet to be discovered. Based on staff research, the activity is popular worldwide.”
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Wayne Page sees bocce ball as a simple way to introduce an activity into LCF parks to encourage more use of the outdoor spaces and said it could be a benefit to the community.
“The idea is to beautify and do something that can be utilized by people of all ages,” he said.
Bocce ball is played on a flat surface area where multiple balls are involved. It can be played on grass or granite and the surface can either be in ground or above ground. The sport is also a very low impact activity, so it is good for all ages.
Based on research, the dimensions of the court start at 91 feet by 13 feet, but Parseghian explained it is considered an informal activity where you can make the area as big or as small as needed. It doesn’t have to meet a certain standard.
The discussion of possibly adding bocce ball was merely an idea to create an activity at the park to make it more inviting to the community and so stakeholders will stay longer.
The vision also involved multi-use benches where a checkerboard or chessboard could be imprinted on the surface to allow for games to take place alongside bocce ball.
As far as the details, Parseghian said that Glenola Park has the space for the activity. Users would have to bring their own bocce balls to play. The park surrounds residential homes, and other aspects of building a court there would be determined such as parking, noise levels and overall popularity within the community.
The estimated cost for building the court will not be provided until staff moves forward in their research, depending on what the city decides.
Parseghian ended his presentation by advising the commission to hold another public meeting and conduct public outreach.
There were seven public comments from residents that live near Glenola Park, which all echoed the same thing: “We don’t want bocce ball.”
Several residents did not like the proposed area of the park that the commission was considering for the bocce ball court because it is a place where younger children have a safe place to play. Others who have played and like bocce ball said there is no need for a court since it can be played anywhere with a flat surface.
The commissioners also shared their personal opinions on the matter.
Page, who lives near the park, said that every time he passes it he notices the lack of people there. Adding a bocce ball court would not change the park’s character, he noted, since the court can be any size and won’t attract hundreds of people.
Commissioner Philippe Oertle said he is in favor of the city gathering input before making any decision.
“The intent was to make it [the parks] better” he said, adding the commission does not want to force an undesired activity.
He thinks residents need to be heard to make the right decision.
“With your feedback, if there is a way to make it work, great. If it doesn’t, and there is no assessment needed for it, then I think we move on to the next project,” said Oertle.
Chairwoman Marija Kristich Decker advised the public to email the commission with feedback and that bocce ball was just an initial discussion for the commissioners.
Decker and Parseghian concluded that they think that the best way to move forward in their ultimate goal to improve the parks is to send out a survey to residents on what they would like for the surrounding parks.


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