Several people have been playing bocce ball at the recently completed Veterans Park/Bocce court at the Pacific Palisades Recreation Center.
Circling the News received an email on July 21 around 8 p.m. that the three courts were fully illuminated, making them look like a “bowling alley” and that games were in progress. The resident also pointed out that masks were not being worn.
The resident asked L.A. City Rec and Parks General Manager Michael Shull if the Veterans Park and the bocce courts are now open to the general public.
“City parks have never closed during the pandemic; however, the majority of all park amenities have been closed (e.g. playgrounds, fields, courts and recreation centers to name a few),” Shull said in a July 22 email. “The public is welcome to visit and passively use any park in the City alone or with members of their household and must wear face coverings. There have been a few exceptions where we chose to close a few parks for limited periods of time due to high visitation, such as beaches and trails. Palisades has not been one of those parks.”
Shull also responded that the people who were playing bocce were actively breaking an L.A. County directive because “Bocce Ball is not currently allowed under County health or City health mandates as it is considered a group sport.
“Our staff will reach out to the organizers to remind them of this directive and we will instruct our park rangers to keep an eye out for activity as they monitor all parks to ensure proper park use during the pandemic is adhered to,” Shull said.
One resident wanted to know if the fact that the Veterans Park/Bocce committee that raised more than $700,000 to complete this project received special privileges from Rec and Parks.
“No,” Shull answered, noting that there is a public document that outlines the approved gift agreement.
The City’s recreation director was also asked about the night-time lighting. “There was no lightning installed as part of this project outside of flagpole and garden-type accent lighting,” Shull said. “Nothing to our recollection was installed without Department approval and community input.”