CB 11 considers Bayside parking garage proposal

CB 11 considers Bayside parking garage proposal
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Residents of northeast Queens floated ideas on how Community Board 11 should prioritize its capital and expense budget recommendations to the city, including the purchasing of land at Udalls Cove, building a parking garage off Bell Boulevard and improving pedestrian islands in Bayside Hills.

Each year, the board asks its members and residents for suggestions while drafting its proposals for the city’s fiscal year 2015 budget. Three particular proposals were brought before CB 11 members at their Monday night meeting — the first since the summer recess ended.

Walter Mugdan, president of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, said he had reason to believe the final five privately owned parcels of land at the Douglaston cove may see development in the near future if the city does not act to purchase them first. He asked the board to include his budget item in its recommendation as a top priority.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece has backed Mugdan and his group’s efforts to preserve Udalls Cove in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which the preservation committee president said was much appreciated. Mugdan said he hoped the board’s advocacy could further help the cause.

Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, asked the board to consider requesting that the city set aside money for the construction of a parking garage just off Bell Boulevard on the site of the current municipal lot on 41st Avenue near Engine Co. 306 in Bayside. The project would come along with the Business Improvement District’s ongoing Streetscape efforts to beautify Bell Boulevard in the coming years and could ease the parking situation along the strip, Sclair said.

The Bell Boulevard Streetscape project has been a talking point for the BID and greater Bayside business community for years, with the ultimate goal of giving the busy commercial strip a greater village feel, Sclair said. Upgrades in the works include sidewalk improvements and new trees, the business director said.

One part of the project was already completed in February when the city installed 14 benches through the CityBench program between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue.

In another budgetary recommendation, Bayside Hills resident and civic member Jay Koellner asked the board to consider advocating for more money to help upgrade and maintain the pedestrian islands — or malls — throughout his enclave of northeast Queens. He cited the work he and his neighbors in the Bayside Hills Civic Association put in on a regular basis to keep the islands manicured and free of litter.

Iannece said the board would mull over all the budgetary recommendations before submitting its final proposal to the city in 2014.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.