The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bocce ball coming to Bessemer's Bluff Valley Park


June 7, 2019


Bessemer — The Bessemer Recreation Committee on Thursday approved 4-0 the instillation of a basic bocce ball court at Bluff Valley Park.

It is believed that bocce ball as a recreational activity for some and a competition sport for others would be popular in the city, said Ron Zaleski, committee president. People are playing bocce ball in their yards and the hope is that courts in the parks will help grow that popularity, he said.

John Turkal, a Bessemer resident and bocci ball aficionado, was present at the meeting and said he would provide equipment needed for the court, a 13-foot by by 91-foot court with closely mowed grass and PVC pipe for boundaries provided by the city. It was his hope that summer tournaments could be organized to bring in visitors.

“We would need four or five courts for a tournament,” Turkal said.

Charly Loper, Bessemer city manager, said the City Council provided $5,000 to the committee for one larger project and another $2,000 for maintenance from the recently approved fiscal budget effect July 1.

Loper said that a $15,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority will go to update housing and improve parks in former mining neighborhoods. She is organizing a community meeting for the Yale neighborhood to decide placement for items such as climbing cubes, swings and a small basketball court. Some of the funds can be used to repair housing, she said.

“This is a great opportunity,” Loper said. “There are over 120 houses in Yale and there are a lot of kids.”

The committee approved a matching request to provide half of up to $800 in funds for a pump track between the tennis court and softball field at Bluff Valley Park. The oval track with raised dirts and turns for mountain bike practice will be approximately 150 feet long.

Zaleski said he is providing wood and labor to build Little Free Library boxes to be placed in Bluff Valley Park, the Yale neighborhood and downtown Bessemer. The city is to provide poles and cement.

“We can save them (the city) money to do something more important,” Zaleski said.

The committee approved a $100 reimbursement for Kelden Witt to replace tools and equipment that were damaged while volunteering to build a trail in Bluff Valley Park.


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