MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Bocce fans rejoice! The bocce ball court at Sycamore Park is getting a makeover thanks to an Eagle Scout project that was approved by the Town Board last week.
Boy Scout Michael Horan of Troop 371went before the board at its Aug. 26 meeting to explain the project and lay out the details of what it will entail.
Jim Gilchrist, the town’s recreation director, told the board that the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee had already seen the proposal and was in favor of it.
“It’s the bocce court below the old basketball courts in Sycamore Park. They were built around 2005 and are in need of restoration,” Gilchrist said. “It was originally built with pressure-treated wood all around it with a clay insert. What Mike is proposing is to use stoned dust, which is harder. But it’s also a material that won’t allow the growth of weeds. It’s definitely the way to go.”
Horan told the board that there will be two main steps for the project. The first is restoring the frame of the court.
“We need to replace any parts of the frame that can no longer be used—beams that rotted out due to water damage,” he said. “Once that is done, we have to put the frame back in place in [places] where it’s shifted. We do this by removing the metal stakes that hold in the frame and use rubber mallets to set it back in its original spot.
“Once that’s done, we are going to install a new scoreboard where the original one is now,” he continued. “Once it’s in place, we will sand down the frame and treat it with an outdoor resistant finish.”
The second step will be to replace the playing surface
“First, we’ll remove any large debris that is still on the court, leaves and sticks—anything that can get in the way,” Horan said. “Then we have to remove the first 2 inches of topsoil. That will be done by shovel and will probably be the most time-consuming part of the project. Once that is removed, then we have to lay down landscaping fabric along the surface.”
Horan said the frame of court is 9-by-80 feet, so he will need 720 square feet of landscaping fabric to complete the job.
“Then we start moving in the stone dust,” he said. “Stone dust was chosen for a few reasons. Traditionally, bocce courts use either crushed oyster shells or sand, but when compacted they’re still permeable to water. Since the court is on a slope, it could cause erosion underneath the court and cause issues later on. Stone dust acts similarly to clay and water can drain right off the top instead of running through it.
‘Once the stone dust is placed on the court, we’ll spread it and level it and a ground compactor will be used to create a nice finished surface,” he added.
Horan said his volunteers will be wear masks and socially distance during construction and he will limit it to 10 to 15 people working at any given time.
He said he plans to begin work on the project, estimated to cost about $1,000, as soon as possible.
‘Originally I was going to hold bake sales as fundraisers. But because of the COVID epidemic, I don’t know if that is the best way to go now,” Horan said. “I do want to do a candy sale. Most of the other funds will be donated by the troop, friends, and family.”
Horan said he will also approach the Mahopac Italian American Club and Mahopac Building Materials to see if they would be willing to donate anything.
“This sounds great,” said Councilwoman Suzi McDonough. “You gave a very impressive presentation. And I love bocce ball!”
Councilman Frank Lombardi suggested that Moran go to the Italian American Club for tips on constructing the court.
“They just built bocce courts at their club a few years ago,” he said. “They could give you some tips. This is a great project.”