By Nathan Duke
The Bayside Village Business Improvement District wants to obtain grants for the upkeep of the neighborhood’s business district along Bell Boulevard and push a plan to extend meters along that strip, the group’s leaders told store owners and elected officials at an event it held this week.
The BID met with elected officials at the city, state and federal level at Bayside’s Papazzio’s Restaurant on Bell Boulevard Monday evening for a “meet and greet.”
Gregg Sullivan, the group’s executive director, said he not only wants for all of the businesses covered by the BID to contribute to keeping the neighborhood aesthetically pleasing, but that he also wants to attract more retail back to Bell Boulevard.
“Bayside has an incredibly rich heritage and we want to preserve it,” he said. “The measure of a society’s character is in the preservation of its heritage. We want to hand over Bayside to a new generation of residents. We need to get more pedestrians back here, people walking the boulevard and shopping.”
James Riso, president of the BID and senior project manager for Bayside’s The Briarwood Organization, said the group covers an estimated 205 businesses in the community.
Its upcoming efforts will include getting grants at either the city, state or federal level to replace the street lights along Bell Boulevard as well as to put up holiday lights and place stamped concrete in front of Bayside stores.
“We want to make Bayside look more like a village than a city street,” Riso said. “We want to revert it back.”
A number of business owners and landlords in the community turned out Monday night for the group’s event.
Elected officials said they believed the BID could draw new stores to the community amid the economic downturn, which has caused a number of businesses along Bell Boulevard to close.
“The Bayside BID is one of the most important things we can do right now,” City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said. “We need to think out of the box. As you start to bring more merchants in, you will see new resources.”
Other speakers at the event included U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and state Assembly candidate Edward Braunstein.
The BID’s leaders said they wanted more retail sites, such as grocery stores or clothing shops, on the strip. Currently, the street includes a number of restaurants and banks.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.