By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The long-awaited Veterans Gardens at Palisades Recreation Center is nearing completion and opening its enrollment for the community to sign-up for newly created bocce leagues.
The Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board voted unanimously for the Department of Recreation and Parks to approve the project in September 2017, igniting several years of collaboration between the public and private sector to bring the park to fruition.
Founder Jimmy Dunne shared that the team has been collaborating with Recreation and Parks to open the space and begin programming when additional Safer at Home orders are lifted and it is safe to do so.
The project, which honors veterans, is designed as a “living room in the park,” featuring gardens, a picnic area and bocce courts.
Ahead of the grand opening, Palisadians who are interested in joining upcoming bocce, chess and bridge leagues are encouraged to sign up now, as they will launch after the doors open, Dunne explained to the Palisadian-Post.
“They are truly, from a playing perspective, the finest bocce courts in Southern California,” Dunne said. The bocce courts were designed by Bill McGregor on the park leadership team, and Daniel Colleoni, known as the premier bocce court expert, was flown in from Italy to install them.
The Bocce Brunch Bunch will be a senior’s league geared toward the largest growing population in the Palisades, Dunne shared. This league will play in the mornings from 11 a.m. to noon with a picnic lunch from a neighborhood restaurant to follow.
The charm in this will be using an outdoor space to create a sense of belonging and community for the town’s seniors, Dunne explained.
There will also be a league designed for grandparents and grandchildren that will play on Sundays at noon, with a catered lunch to follow, Dunne said.
The third league, a Palisades Summer League, will begin for Gen Z, millennials and baby boomers to play bocce one evening during the week.
Other projects in the works include chess and bridge clubs. Conversations are underway for the park to have free Wi-Fi and a filtered water system, Dunne added.
There are also openings for Palisadians to become Bluebird Ambassadors volunteers, who want to commit to a volunteer a few hours a week to greet community members
Dunne expressed deep gratitude toward Veterans Gardens Board: Bob Harter, Bob Jernigan, Jay McCann and McGregor.
“Collaborating with these four other leaders on this has been absolutely such a wonderful journey,” Dunne said. “Each one of them is just extraordinary.”
Veterans Gardens is seeking a veteran to fill the position of full-time athletics and programming director and open to suggestions for candidates. The programming director will also be a concierge for the park, including handing out newspapers and magazines for people to read and games for families to enjoy.
Those who interested in leagues or have an idea for a candidate are encouraged to email Kate Danielson, director of development for Veterans Gardens, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on bocce league sign-ups, visit veteransgardens.net/leagues.
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