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Marine Park improvements finally happening!

The long-suffering Marine Park Bocce Club may soon finally enjoy these idyllic new courts.
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The bocce boys of Marine Park had better grab their balls.

Marine Park’s bocce ball courts and other recreational facilities — including the tennis and basketball courts — are finally scheduled to undergo long-overdue renovations, though the question remains of when the work will begin.

The Parks Department presented the plans and a meeting of Marine Park Civic Association last Tuesday at the Carmine Carro Community Center.

“The reconstruction project at Marine Park will provide the community with an improved bocce court area and provide landscape and design amenities in the surrounding area of the park,” said Parks Department representative Meghan Lalor.

Other planned renovations include:

• Shaded structures, shielding young and old from sun, rain, and birds’ bull’s-eyes

• Fresh pavement— it’s not just shady lanes—for the tennis and basketball courts

• New nets

• Fences and benches

• A garden area

• Sit-and-be-fit exercise equipment for seniors

But one long-time bocce ball player isn’t getting geared up just yet.

“When I see it, I will believe it,” said John Manzola, a member of both the Marine Park Civic Association and the park’s bocce club. “Until then, I don’t believe it.”

Manzola said he has been hearing about these plans for roughly two years.

“They draw up beautiful pictures,” said Manzola. “They send a suit down to talk to us. I go to every meeting and whatever these people tell us never happens,” he said.

Local elected officials have been allocating money to fund improvements to Marine Park for years, but plans have repeatedly been sent off the rails by the Public Design Commission, a little-known panel that must approve any structure built in city parks. Time and again the commission has rejected initial plans and demanded changes that inflated the cost beyond the available funds.

The current plans finally passed muster with the panel earlier this year, clearing the way for work to begin, but the Parks Department has yet to say when work on the improvements will start.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.
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