Mayor slows plan to relocate bocce court over tree concerns

WARREN, Ohio (AP) — Anger over the removal of several trees to make room for a new bocce ball court has prompted an Ohio mayor to announce he’s slowing down the project for more study.

The court in downtown Warren in northeastern Ohio is an important part of the city’s annual Italian-American Heritage Festival, including money raised at the festival for scholarships, The Warren Tribune Chronicle reported. The court is expected to move to a nearby park when the festival shifts there from downtown later this year.

In bocce ball, sometimes called Italian lawn bowling, players earn points by competing to roll balls the closest to to a single target ball.

Trees were removed from a nearby park in an historic neighborhood to make room for the court, angering residents who said they weren’t consulted, the paper said. Residents also said the trees could have been plantings by some of the homes’ original residents.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said recently that he is considering alternative locations for the court.

“I admit the aggressive approach wasn’t the best approach, but I will continue to work with the groups and hear their concerns,” Franklin said.