Bocce courts under construction in Little Italy, Baltimore

May 03, 2019 322

BY: Giovanna Blattermann and Fran Blattermann

Bravo, Little Italy is getting new bocce courts! These well-loved and popular courts on Stiles Street are being refurbished after having seen hundreds of bocce games and tournaments throughout the decades.

How did this project evolve? The bocce courts were built in 1993 on behalf of the Little Italy Community Organization (LICO) for the community, and enjoyed by its senior residents, led by the late Joe Scalia. The Little Italy Bocce Leagues (Tuesday & Wednesday) began soon after and grew from six teams to its current 32. During the past 26 years, the courts have been used for local and national tournaments.

LICO and the Little Italy Bocce League (LIBL) assist with the annual bocce tournaments held during Saint Leo's summer Italian Festivals; the tournament draws hundreds of people into the courts to play and spectate. The almost constant use of the courts has taken its toll, naturally; during the last 10 years LICO & LIBL have worked diligently to rebuild them. Both the Department of Recreation & Parks and Baltimore City Government have assisted and a budget was approved in 2018 to completely rebuild the courts.

Who is doing the construction? What exactly will be done? Flannigan Construction Company was commissioned for the project to do a complete overhaul. The two courts will be moved to the right about two feet; a walkway will be added to the side against the brick wall; and a drainage system installed under the courts. As well, the required handicap accessibility ramp will be installed where the trees were; new benches of composite weatherproof material will be added, along with canopies and string lighting.

When will the courts be complete? Will spring leagues play? The estimated completion date is late May to early June - everyone is praying for good weather! It is hopeful the spring league will play, although it may be a shortened season. Bocce players and residents are excited to see the finished product!

SOURCE: Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore

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