At one of the biggest turnouts for a Clayton Business and Community Association meeting anyone could ever remember, more than 120 members packed the dining room at Oakhurst Country Club to give vigorous approval to help fund a bocce park in downtown Clayton.
The proposed four-court park will sit on land owned by Skip and Kent Ipsen, founder and owner of Skipolini’s Pizza. The Ipsen family will donate $125,000 of the estimated $300,000 construction cost, with the remaining $175,000 coming from the CBCA.
The Ipsens are making the land available, along with the development funds, as a way of “giving back to the community” that has supported their business for decades, said founder Skip Ipsen.
Skipolini’s will be undergoing a major remodel after the first of the year and the Ipsens hope to have necessary approvals for the bocce park in place by then so construction on both could proceed at the same time.
CBCA president, Keith Haydon was jubilant at the vote. He calls the proposed bocce park a “win-win-win” for the city, the Ipsens and for the CBCA.
The park is expected to bring upwards of 80 players to the town center during the typically dead weeknights, benefitting downtown restaurants and merchants.
“People have to eat and buy things and everything’s right here without having to get in the car,” noted Skipolini’s owner, Kent Ipsen.
At the same meeting, the club voted to apply to the IRS for a change in tax exempt status from a civic organization to a 501 (c) (3) public charity, which would make contributions to the club tax deductible. Ed Hartley, chairman of the bocce committee, expects the club to recover at least $50,000 of the initial cost from donations. Ed Moresi, owner of Ed’s Mudville Grill and Moresi’s Chophouse, offered a $25,000 donation for the naming rights of the first court.
The park will require a use-permit from the city of Clayton. After the application is submitted, the planning commission will hold a public hearing before voting. The planning commission can approve the use permit if there is no appeal. An appeal would take the proposal to the city council for a final decision. The Ipsens hope to have the application ready to present in an informational form to the Planning Commission by the Sept. 24 meeting.Gary Carr contributed to this story.