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On second thought, nevermind about the bocce courts

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On second thought …

It took eight years just to get the plans approved, but the long-awaited renovations for Marine Park — including new bocce ball courts — are finally scheduled to begin in September 2015, according to the Parks Department.

But now some Marine Park regulars are saying they would rather not bother, if the drawn-out planning process is any indication of how long the construction will disrupt their enjoyment of the green space.

Members of the Marine Park Bocce Club, which had urged a rehab for years, now want to call the whole thing off if it means losing access to the shabby courts they play on now until the spiffy new venue is finished — however long that takes.

The Parks Department said the construction is expected to take a year and a half, but jaded locals point to the park’s Carmine Carro Community Center — which to a decade to complete — as the reason they don’t trust the city to get the job done on time.

“We don’t want to go two years without a bocce court — or maybe four, like it took for the Center,” said Phil Mineo, “Forget about making new bocce courts — the bocce courts are fine.”

The Parks Department could not say whether players would have access to the courts during construction.

“At this point in time, before we have a contractor lined up, it’s too early to have details on the order of work,” said Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

Longtime bocce player John Manzola said anybody who expects to play bocce on the courts while the area is under construction is “hallucinat­ing.”

Manzola said the only way he could think of to prevent a replay of the Carmine Carro debacle would be to turn the project over to the private sector.

“It is just a bureaucratic disgrace what the Parks Department does,” said John Manzola. “Give it to a private industry — it’ll be done in six months.”

For other locals now panning the plans, the problem isn’t who is building the project, but what the project is building.

In addition to the new bocce courts, additional shade structures, repaved tennis and basketball courts, new tennis nets, and an exercise area, the $5.15 million overhaul will also include some landscaping, benches, fences, and a garden.

Some residents consider that spending a waste of city money when the neighborhood around the park has other problems that need fixing.

“It is redundant to put a garden there,” said Joan Rubino, who lives in Marine Park. “Instead, I got a better idea — fix the streets that are roller coasters.”

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