Group petitions to have bocce ball area repurposed for dog run in Morris Park

A section of Loreto Playground in the Morris Park section of the Bronx is designed for bocce ball, but about 200 people say they want to see it repurposed for a dog run.
They have signed a petition and say they believe the bocce ball court is abandoned and the area could better serve pooches.
Matt Caulfield, a Morris Park resident and rescue dog owner who started the petition, says the area is flooded with dogs and there's no dog park in walking distance.
He says all it would take is one more fence and a sign, but some residents argue the bocce court is used during warmer weather, calling it a part of the community's history.
The city Parks Department is siding with them, writing in part: "Our bocce court at Loreto Playground is a much-loved community amenity, and our observation is that it is one of the more widely used bocce courts in the Bronx."
Caulfield says they don't have to get rid of it completely.
"I just thought this bocce court area sitting here empty is a shame. I think if we took all energy of dogs out on the street and brought them into one area, that's a way to build community," he says.
The Parks Department says it appreciates the interest in a new dog run and is encouraging the community to speak up in its virtual input sessions.
It also says the best way to start a capital renovation at your local park is to reach out to elected officials. Community Board 11 is in the process of listening to comments and concerns.