By Mark Hallum
The Bayside Village Business Improvement District held its annual meeting in the Magnolia Room of Bourbon Street Restaurant Monday to discuss a new street lamp program and progress on the plan to build a parking garage on 41st Avenue.
Executive Director Lyle Sclair, Chairman Dominick Bruccoleri and guest speaker Matt Mamak led the meeting.
The meeting kicked off with board member elections. The same board members representing landlords from last year were approved by a vote of 15, while commercial tenants from last year were voted back in by a vote of 14.
When it came time to re-elect Mitchell Catanzano, the board member who represents the residents, former BID Director Gregg Sullivan protested that since Catanzano had been absent at prior meetings, he should not be allowed to hold the position. He voiced concern that the residents were not receiving representation in the BID. Sullivan was the only abstention and the slate for the board of directors from last year passed.
Sclair ran through the initiatives the BID has worked on to bring improvements to Bell Boulevard. Music @ The Station is the improvement district’s way of welcoming newcomers to Bayside by sponsoring musicians to perform in a space near the lawn of the LIRR Station. The program creates a welcoming atmosphere, which encourages visitors to come to the Bell Boulevard and enjoy what businesses have to offer.
The BID’s street lamp program is funded partly by the improvement district and uses bargaining power by the DOT to acquire antique style street lamps to add a tone reminiscent of New York from the first half of the 19th Century. By working with the city’s bargaining power to purchase the lamps at a bulk rate and allowing DOT to manage the installations, the BID saves 25 percent of the cost. The street lamp designs the BID is hoping to get its hands on are similar to those which can be found on the Triborough Bridge.
Sclair also discussed the effort between the BID, DOT and the LIRR to finally construct a five-tier parking garage in the current location of the DOT lot on 41st Avenue to relieve the stress on customers and employees searching for suitable parking along the boulevard and its side streets. These plans have encountered complications from different angles. The LIRR will allow them to build within close proximity to the north side of the tracks, but Con Ed has restrictions against structures being build within a certain proximity to the power lines it has in place. The BID is still working to acquire the funding for this project.
“We’re not a vehicle just to help merchants,” Bruccoleri said, explaining the importance of BID events which have the appearance of helping the community more so than businesses. “We’re a vehicle to bring the community and the merchants together.”
Matt Mamak, a corporate lawyer from Alston & Bird and a Bayside resident, spoke in front of the meeting to discuss labor laws with business owners.
Representatives of Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and Borough President Melinda Katz audited the meeting on behalf of elected officials.
According to the expense budget statement handed out at the meeting, the total revenue for fiscal year 2016 is $178,500, with $218,300 proposed for 2017.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall