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Bocce Court Debacle Floods Queens Players With Frustration

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bocce ball players in Queens say a city redesign ruined their courts at a park in Middle Village.

The Parks Department spent $850,000 to renovate Juniper Valley Park -- but the canopies above the courts, which were designed to block out the sun, funnel rainwater onto the courts, creating holes in the playing field and flooding which takes days to dry out.

Paul Maucelli and Anthony Sozio, both retired, play bocce almost every day at the location off 79th Street and Juniper Boulevard.

"We don't need this, the way they did it," Maucelli told CBS2's Meg Baker. "We can't use it, waste of money. They gotta do something."

Bocce, an Italian ball sport, is typically played on a flat court. Players take turns rolling colored bocce balls towards a small, white ball on the other side of the playing field. Players receive points based on whoever can get their set of balls closer to the target.

Prior to the redesign, they were able to sweep water of the courts through drains, Sozio said.

"After the rain we come over here and work," Sozio said. "All this maintenance, Parks Dept. doesn't do anything for us -- we do everything ourselves."

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is pushing the city to fix the situation.

"We want to make sure that we continue to keep courts in high quality standards and that has to do with maintenance," Crowley said.

The NYC Parks Department said it will install covers.

"An initial attempt to install [clear plastic sheets] did not yield results that fit our standards," the Parks Dept. said in a statement. "We are exploring alternative materials and we how to have the project complete by early next year."

A tournament this summer brought more than 500 players to the Middle Village courts.

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