Special Olympians were joined by coaches, City officials, contractors and business officials this afternoon (March 17) for the official groundbreaking ceremonies for the Special Olympics Bocce Complex. The facility will be located off Mount Rushmore Road near the parking lot of the old Memorial Park tennis courts.
Various groups held official dirt-tossing ceremonies at the event. More than 600 Special Olympians in the area participate in the sport, which is growing in popularity in America. The complex will be available for public use as well as by the Special Olympians.
City Parks officials were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremonies as well as Council members Pat Roseland, Bill Evans and Laura Armstrong.
***ORIGINAL NEWS RELEASE***
OFFICIALS TO BREAK GROUND FOR
NEW BOCCE BALL COMPLEX
Rapid City Parks & Recreation and Special Olympics Rapid City Flame Partner to Build Bocce Complex
Officials will break ground Friday, March 17, for a new Bocce Complex serving the public and Special Olympics athletes in the surrounding region. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. this Friday at the northwest corner of Omaha Street and Mt. Rushmore Road.
City officials, Special Olympics and R.C.S. Construction officials, along with donors and the public are expected to take part in the groundbreaking ceremonies. Construction of the initial eight bocce courts is expected to be completed in June. Officials indicate the courts will be used by the public 95 percent of the time with the rest of the time dedicated to Special Olympics athletes.
“This is a Public-Private partnership between Rapid City Parks & Recreation Department and Special Olympics South Dakota – Rapid City Flame. The Bocce Complex will transform an empty lot into a beautiful park filled with vitality and life,” says Pat Roseland, Rapid City Council Member.
“Bocce is the fastest growing Special Olympics sport in North America”, says Darryl Nordquist, CEO of Special Olympics South Dakota. “These courts will benefit all our athletes in the Black Hills as well as athletes from across South Dakota. We look forward to having regional and state tournaments here and partnering with the City of Rapid City to make great use of this under-utilized public space.”
Events and organizations contributing to the Bocce Complex include the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Legends Ride, the Rusty Wallace Ride, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Liv Hospitality, Bikers Against Bullies, Black Hills Works Foundation and Wellmark Foundation. TerraSite Design completed landscape, architectural and civil design components.
“We are very proud to bring the next level of bocce training to the athletes of Special Olympics South Dakota. These athletes are dedicated to their sports, education, and employment. It is exciting to help these individuals reach their goals,” says Rod Woodruff, CEO of Legendary Sturgis Buffalo Chip.
Bocce is an ancient Italian ball game and can be played by people of all ages and abilities. The games are played on 12’ by 60’ courts and can feature games of single players against each other or two teams of 2-4 players each. The game involves players initially tossing a small ball called a jack followed by tossing bocce balls as close to the jack as possible to earn points.