Thanks to a decision several years ago to refurbish the greens at New Bedford's Hazelwood Park for lawn bowling and croquet, there is much renewed interest in both activities.

New Bedford Director of Parks, Recreation and Beaches Mary Rapoza and Hazelwood Park Greens Coordinator Ann Marie Briand joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the improvements,- and the public reaction.

"Anyone can do lawn bowling, from seven years old to people in their 90s," Briand said. "It's a very inclusive sport, it's great for families as well, and we provide all the equipment."

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According to Rapoza, lawn bowling in New Bedford dates back to before the American  Revolution.

"The people arriving from England brought lawn bowling here in the 1600s, but the game lost some of its popularity during the American Revolution when it was considered 'disloyal' to play," she said.

Rapoza said lawn bowling and croquet are extremely popular throughout the world, and growing in the United States and here in New Bedford. Northeast tournaments in lawn bowling and croquet were held at Hazelwood this year, and officials raved about the refurbished greens, calling them "world-class."

Courtesy City of New Bedford Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Beaches
Courtesy City of New Bedford Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Beaches
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Briand said lights have been installed around the greens, so she expects lawn bowling and "Glow in the Dark" croquet to continue until mid-November.

Briand said a lawn bowling club has now been formed, and summer youth groups and Our Sisters' School have visited. Seniors from New Bedford and Dartmouth are now playing on a regular basis, along with residents of the Veterans Transition House enjoying their time on the greens.

If you would like to learn more or get involved, you can call the New Bedford Parks, Recreation and Beaches office at City Hall or visit the department's website.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly community affairs program that airs Sunday mornings on WBSM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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Gallery Credit: Barry Richard

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