By Mark Hallum
The late Bayside civic activist Frank Skala will be honored with a street co-naming of the northeast corner of 40th Avenue and Bell Boulevard sponsored by City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).
The bill for the new sign dedicating the street where Skala lived for the majority of his life recently passed the City Council and a Community Board 11 vote in March.
“Frank Skala was a fiercely dedicated community activist and civic leader. His enormous and lasting impact on the community is clearly evidenced by the City Council’s and Community Board 11’s unanimous votes to have 40th Avenue and Bell Boulevard co-named in his honor,” Vallone said. “I look forward to hosting a co-naming ceremony in the coming months so that Bayside will forever remember Frank and the enormous impact he had on our history and quality of life.”
Skala, who grew up in Bayside and attended its schools, taught American History and Geography for 33 years at the now closed Campbell Junior High School 218 and Adrien Block Intermediate School 25 before retiring in 1992. He died in 2015 at 78.
Skala’s daughter, Bonnie Skala Kiladitis, remembers her father as a fighter with a passion for his community.
“My family is thrilled by this honor. Dad lived in Bayside for over seven decades. It was never his goal to be popular. It was to be remembered. Remembered for doing what was right for his beloved hometown,” Kiladitis said. “Anyone who knew my father knew that there was only one way! The Frank Skala Way.”
Skala’s tireless work with the community advocating for projects and organizations that preserved the quality of life for residents in the neighborhood is what he is known for outside his professional life. He founded the East Bayside Homeowners Association in 1974 to protect the suburban nature of Bayside and later established the New Bayside High Alumni Association in 1991 which raised money and awarded scholarships for students.
Skala was also awarded the state Senate’s Liberty Medal, which is one of the highest honors a civilian can receive.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall