Although four people were playing bocce at Veterans’ Gardens at the Palisades Recreation Center on Sunday, the site has not been officially dedicated and the area is not open.
A Palisades resident wrote to CTN on Sunday: “We’ve now seen the veterans park organizers playing bocce multiple times. Jimmy Dunne, an organizer, was there the other night (May 2, with about 12 people and also on April 15). They were there well past dark and past the time they allow playing even under normal circumstances.
“There are low lights running up each court and it looks like Vegas,” a neighbor told CTN and asked why the bocce court was allowed to be opened during the Covid-19 crisis. “Are park facilities open for big donors, but facilities such as tennis courts are closed for the rest of us?”
Circling the News walked to the park around noon on Sunday and spoke briefly to Dunne, who was playing with a partner and another couple. I asked him if the courts were open. He said, “No.” I then asked when the courts would open? “Probably in about a month,” he replied.
CTN asked what he and the other three people were doing there, because it appeared, they were playing bocce, while a Yorkshire terrier ran off-leash up and down the length of the court barking.
“We’re testing things, the side rails, all sorts of things,” Dunne said.
One resident asked in a May 3 email to CTN, “Why does Jimmy Dunne have his own set of keys and the ability to go and come as he pleases?”
CTN contacted Recreation Center Director Erich Haas and Councilman Mike Bonin (through his public spokesperson, David Graham-Caso) by email.
Haas responded quickly, and said, “Thank you for the email. I can assure [you], all community members are required to ‘play’ by the same rules and enforcement will be for all, including rich donors.”
He added, “I am on top of this.”
Graham-Caso had not responded by posting time.