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Virginia Hagar, left, of Brentwood, and Gerlinde Jewell, right, of Discovery Bay, take a measurement during a match at the grand opening of the Veterans Park Bocce Court Extension project at Veterans Park in Brentwood, Calif., on Thursday March 14, 2013. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Staff)

BRENTWOOD -- Summerset senior Daneen Lagano moved with ease as she took her turn in the first Brentwood bocce ball game of the season last week.

She noted that using the new hand rails and lowering herself into the raised courts at Veterans Park was much less challenging and safer than last season.

"They are great," she said of the revamped bocce ball courts on Balfour Road. "They are a lot easier on us."

After the seniors who play in the city's bocce ball league complained about accessibility issues and unsafe conditions at Brentwood's courts, city officials secured $200,000 in funding for a bocce court expansion project using the East Bay Regional Park District's Measure WW park bond. The redesign, unveiled this week at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, included and a new five-foot walkway, four picnic tables, a perimeter fence, landscaping, hand rails at the end of each of the four courts and additional shade. The newly constructed center section of the courts includes full shade and the picnic tables for players to enjoy refreshments, observe games and tally scores with ease.

"The hope is that with the new upgrades, play will expand and tournaments may be played in these courts," Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said. "If this happens, the center area could be used as an announcer's area and for organizing play."

With the addition of electrical conduits under the courts and into the seating area, there is a future possibility of night games. Future lighting can be easily incorporated, Taylor noted.

"They look great to me," Taylor said of the redesign. "They look better than I thought."

Brentwood bocce spokeswoman June Peters said that she collaborated with Brentwood Park Maintenance Manager Roger Stromgren on the project and researched bocce ball court specifications on the Internet.

"I hope everyone enjoys the new courts," Peters said.

The former courts were 10 inches in depth and they have been raised to around seven inches for easier access. According to Stromgren, they are still working to perfect the grading and compacting of the courts for ball speed and travel.

"We will just keep working on it until we get it right," he said of the court maintenance.

Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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