Frederick has plenty to attract new residents, but for Lewis Kessler and his family, it was the future bocce ball courts in Baker Park that tipped the scales.

The D.C.-area resident and his “stud bocce ball player” daughter Izzy came to Thursday’s Board of Aldermen public hearing to advocate for an agreement between the city, Friends of Baker Park, and Frederick Bocce — a grassroots group of local bocce ball enthusiasts — to build four courts and amenities on a piece of vacant land adjacent to College Avenue near the tennis courts.

The agreement received unanimous support from the aldermen, giving partners the green light to begin fundraising efforts. Peter Brehm, president of the Friends of Baker Park, said in a workshop at the beginning of the month that representatives are hoping to raise about $21,000 to pay for the equipment and supplies.

For those who are not familiar, bocce ball is a popular outdoor yard game that consists of rolling large balls toward a smaller one to get as close to it as possible while competing with other players. People of all ages can play the game.

Izzy Kessler, who uses a wheelchair, is a high school bocce ball champion who went on to become a coach. Lewis Kessler said the sport is a “great equalizer” and he is glad he and his family discovered it when Izzy was young.

“If you’re male, female, young, old, if you’re sitting in a chair, if you’re standing, you all can play bocce,” he said.

Before voting in favor of the agreement Thursday, Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she was “thrilled” that a champion player is coming to play on the city’s bocce ball courts. She also commended the plans to make the courts accessible to everyone.

City public works crews will construct the courts, and Marc Stachowski, the city’s deputy director of operations for the Department of Public Works, said in the workshop that it should take them three weeks to a month once the funds are raised.

Police department getting new radios

Also included in the packed agenda of Thursday’s Board of Aldermen public hearing was a request to approve a purchase order for the second wave of new radios for the Police Department.

Lt. Aaron Lapp presented the $223,412 request for 68 Motorola radios and the necessary accessories. The money, allocated in the fiscal 2018 budget, is the first of two purchase orders. The second will buy the remaining 90 radios the department will receive. According to the staff report, the total cost of all the radios comes to $523,280, which Lapp said reflects a discounted rate derived from trading in existing radios and a desire for the company to stay in business with the city.

The aldermen approved the matter unanimously.

East Frederick Rising wants your feedback

East Frederick Rising board member Bob Robey sent an email this week to Neighborhood Advisory Council 11 residents asking them to fill out a survey to weigh in on what type of public art they think should adorn the traffic circle on East Street.

The email said a representative from East Frederick Rising will appear before members of the Frederick Art Club “shortly” to explain the selection process and give a status update on the project.

The survey is short and easy to maneuver and does not include any personal questions, which the email listed as a selling point for residents to take it. It can be found at the following link:

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

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