Bocce Ball is coming to Alamo

By Steve Mick

The Alamo Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) has recently approved the construction of the first Alamo bocce ball court at Livorna Park. The new bocce court will be in the area of the existing sand volleyball court and will consist of two lanes. The entire court area will be ADA accessible.

Bocce ball has grown greatly in popularity in recent years and there are a number of courts in the San Ramon Valley. This low-impact sport is relaxed but offers strategic challenges to participants. Bocce is an old game with links to ancient Rome.  This may explain its popularity with Italian immigrants who brought it to America in the early 20th century.

Bocce is played on a rectangular court that typically measures about 13 feet by 90 feet although there can be variations in this size. For example, due to topological and cost concerns, each bocce court at Livorna Park will measure 12 feet by 78 feet.  There are numerous websites that describe the rules and strategy for playing. It has been said that bocce ball is similar to horseshoes but uses small bowling balls instead of horseshoes.

Bocce is usually played with two teams that alternate playing. This arrangement provides for one of the real appeals of bocce ball:  half of the time the participants are not playing and can relax.

The new bocce court is only one of the recreational activities that the Alamo MAC supports. Each year there is a series of free concerts in Livorna Park as well as a “Movie Under the Stars.” Both of these activities are highly popular. Families and friends bring picnics to enjoy before and during the performances.  The playground equipment also gets a good use during the concerts and before the movies starts.

The revenue source for these recreational activities comes from a small portion of your property tax. However, the new bocce ball court construction cost of about $600,000 will be funded almost entirely by the East Bay Regional Parks WW Bond program.

The timeline for this project is somewhat lengthy due various funding and approval schedules. Actual construction is slated to begin in March 2015 and be completed sometime in July 2015.