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Bocce enthusiasts break ground on new courts

Bocce project slated for completion in Scappoose Veterans Park by June


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Bill Marinelli, a Scappoose bocce player, said the courts will be constructed to accommodate various rules of play. Bocce e Luce, a Sherwood company that specializes in building bocce courts, broke ground on a project in Scappoose’s Veterans Park Saturday, March 29. Crews spent the weekend digging a foundation that will eventually house two bocce courts in the park.

The Scappoose City Council in October awarded a $49,751 contract to Bocce e Luce to construct two courts in Veterans Park. That number falls within the city’s budget for the project, a figure set at $50,000.

Mike Neish, owner of Bocce e Luce, said the completion of the courts depends on weather conditions, but he hopes to have the courts completed by the end of April.

“Realistically, I have until the end of June,” Neish added.

Scappoose resident and bocce enthusiast Bill Marinelli approached city officials in 2009, asking whether the city had any plans to install recreational structures in the park other than baseball diamonds and playgrounds.

“I just wanted to see that other people have the opportunity to enjoy and play the game of bocce,” Marinelli said Monday as he watched the Bocce e Luce crew secure landscaping fabric to the foundation of the site.

While no formal plans have been made, Marinelli said the Scappoose Boosters will likely hold a bocce event at the courts during its annual Pow Wow Summerfest this June.

“In May or June we hope to have a ribbon-cutting, where I would be willing to teach people how to play,” Marinelli said.

Both courts will be 11.5 feet wide and 80 feet long. The area around the courts will also be graded to help meet requirements laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“These are futuristic courts,” Marinelli said, noting the construction will lend to the court’s low-maintenance and playability. “Once complete they will be without expense for eight to 12 years.”

Neish said he will install courts with a synthetic turf surface, rather than the natural oyster flower used on traditional courts, which requires regular grooming. Neish said the turf will hold up better in the damp, western Oregon climate.

“They will require less maintenance and be more playable,” he said. “Even in the rain you could play. You can play in a torrential downpour if you want to.”

Neish is also building the courts to accommodate potential improvements in the future, such as a roof and electricity.

While Marinelli is an avid bocce player, he said he has no plans to form a bocce league in Scappoose, but added he would be willing to advise anyone willing to step up to the plate.

Marinelli said he feels the courts will be a good addition to the park as the game accommodates all ages.