By Phil Corso
It has been five years since the Bayside Village Business Improvement District started doing business along Bell Boulevard, and top members said they had come a long way.
The group announced its fifth annual meeting and board election will be held Monday, June 24, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, where members will look ahead and reflect on what they called a year of progress.
The annual meeting will also feature keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who sits on the House Small Business Committee, the BID said.
“The past year, to me, has been an enlightening enjoyment to have new people working with us who are willing to put their time and effort into shared goals,” said Dominick Bruccoleri, the BID chairman.
Bruccoleri, who runs Papazzio Italian Restaurant, at 39-38 Bell Blvd., has worked with the BID since its inception but only signed on as chairman last June.
He said the group garnered some new blood over the past year and invited more participation, which was crucial to its success. Last year, the BID welcomed Mark Boccia and John DeFina to represent property owners and David Lilienthal and Edward Teran to represent commercial tenants.
“I was so enlightened by the new board stepping on last year,” he said. “They quickly started to understand the difficulties we were facing over the years. Sometimes you don’t see that from behind the scenes.”
As chairman, Bruccoleri succeeded James Riso, who now serves as a board member, taking on the new position at a turbulent time in the BID’s history.
Early last year, the business group fired former Executive Director Gregg Sullivan and replaced him with current BID head Lyle Sclair. Around the time of Sclair’s hiring, Sullivan had debated his termination and went on to seek membership on the board as a commercial tenant representative.
A miscommunication over BID election protocol sent last year’s annual meeting and election into a bit of a frenzy, with Sullivan and some of his supporters accusing the group of intentionally blocking him from the board.
But in the year since then, tempers have subsided and Sclair said significant progress had been made.
“A lot of our members are looking forward now,” Sclair said. “We have spent the last year fostering and developing a lot of our relationships, both internally and externally.”
Over the past year, Sclair said the BID made great strides in its programming and event offerings, revamping its annual arts and crafts fair with new community partnerships and participation. He also boasted about a brand-new BID newsletter and website in the works to better assist the merchants on Bell Boulevard.
Earlier this year, the BID teamed up with Bayside High School to engage its students in designing seasonal business banners to line the boulevard. Those banners will enter their third season this summer, Sclair said, highlighting just one of the signs of a healthy and progressive BID.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.