Civic Group Eyes Reviving Area & Park
The second-ever meeting of the Forest Park Civic Association (FPCA) last Tuesday night, June 5, at the Parks Department’s Oak Ridge quarters saw an exchange of ideas among guests regarding boosting interest and activity in Glendale and Forest Park.
Paul Gagliardotto, the FPCA president, lamented the large number of vacant storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in the eastern section of Glendale. He claimed to have counted about 21 empty shops along the shopping strip between 69th Street and Woodhaven Boulevard.
One resident in attendance blamed the high cost of rent charged by property owners on Myrtle Avenue, with claims that some storefronts were being offered for leases of between $7,000 and $8,000 per month.
Michelle Cook-Lopez, a Glendale resident and business owner, agreed with a guest’s comment that there isn’t much foot traffic on that portion of Myrtle Avenue since much of the southern side is occupied either by Forest Park or Mount Lebanon Cemetery. As a result, she said, “there’s no reason for” local residents to shop along Myrtle Avenue, and they instead go to outlying areas to get the things they need.
The lack of available parking on the street was also cited by another resident in attendance as something hindering business in the eastern Glendale area.
Gagliardotto stated that he was looking for ideas to get young residents in the area not only interested in Glendale but also in Forest Park. He suggested hosting a get-together to gather younger residents at a meeting place to discuss community is- sues.
Another idea to help boost local business and interest is the installation of a “Welcome to Glendale” sign. Gagliardotto stated that he is looking for a possible location where one could be installed. It was noted that finding the right spot would be difficult since the eastern border between Glendale and the neighboring communities of Forest Hills and Woodhaven is often disputed.
Regarding Forest Park, the FPCA president noted that the park has played host to a number of community events in recent weeks, including an animal adoption event on June 2 at the Seuffert Bandshell parking lot; another took place this past Saturday, June 9, near the Buddy Memorial off the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South in Richmond Hill.
Buddy Memorial also played host to the first “Dancing Under the Stars” event of the season in Forest Park the night before the meeting. Gagliardotto stated that the program offers free dance lessons for guests of all ages throughout the spring and summer, weather permitting.
Additionally, the Forest Park Carousel reopened on Memorial Day weekend, and along with the ride, there are magic and entertainment shows on weekends for children nearby, he added.
“There’s always something to do in this park,” he said, “and the best part of that is that it’s free.”
Gagliardotto stressed the importance of encouraging other residents to take part in free activities at Forest Park, which are largely funded through public funds or private dona- tions. “We’ve got to take advantage of [these programs] or it’s not going to be there” for long, he added.
Dorie Figliola of Assemblyman Mike Miller’s office noted that the lawmaker, along with State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, will sponsor a safety awareness event at the Seuffert Bandshell parking lot on Saturday, June 23. The event will feature various crime prevention programs offered by the NYPD and safety tips from the Fire Department.
Residents also suggested reaching out to community groups such as the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council and Christ Tabernacle Church to organize events in Forest Park in the future.
Dori Pliska, a representative of City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, stated that the lawmaker is organizing a graffiti cleanup program and is looking for locations around Glendale.
“If there’s graffiti, we will paint over it,” Pliska said, urging residents who know of any vandalized locations to report them to Crowley’s office at 1-718-366-3900.
On the neighborhood’s ongoing war against graffiti, Figliola also suggested that residents who see tags on their homes or public property should take a photo of the damage, then forward it to the 104th Precinct or to the offices of area elected officials. She noted that the 104th Precinct, in particular, has made a host of arrests of graffiti vandals in the last year, and convicted individuals have been ordered to jail sentences and community service.