Northside neighborhood celebrates restored bocce courts

Bocce court

Two of three bocce courts at Backesto Park have been restored.

The Northside Neighborhood Association celebrated recent improvements to the bocce courts at Backesto Park with a bocce lunch party yesterday. Unfortunately the event was scheduled before the US made it in to the World Cup round of 16, playing at exactly the same time, which might partly explain the modest attendance.

The Luna Park Business District, composed of businesses located along North Thirteenth Street in the Northside, held a mixer event at the bocce courts on Friday. The Luna Park businesses, especially Chiaramonte’s Deli, have made significant contributions to recent work on the courts, and have volunteered to help with future maintenance. Chiaramonte’s also provided lunch for the NNA event yesterday.

After the courts were threatened with removal due to underuse, as we reported in April, a group of volunteers from the Northside got together to restore the courts and make them playable again. Two of the court surfaces were cleaned up with a new layer of crushed oyster shells, and sun shades were erected over the two ends of one of the three courts. All in all, NNA president Chuck Hagenmeier estimates over 100 volunteer hours went into the project.

The results are impressive. Courts that had been weedy, cracked, and flaking are now as smooth as a slate pool table, and eye-searingly white and clean. New users such as a Special Olympics group are coming forward, and the improved court surface should make the courts more appealing to casual pick-up players. The courts are available for use by the public at no charge. The keys to the courts and a set of balls can be borrowed from the nearby Bronco’s Mexican Restaurant or Chiaramonte’s Deli, with the deposit of a drivers license or credit card, during regular business hours.

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