By Mark Hallum
Judith Limpert let out a cry of joy upon being told the organization she led for nearly two decades, the Bayside Business Association, would get almost double the expected amount from the office of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
The group had originally applied for a grant available through the state budget of $60,000, but because there were additional funds available, Avella was able to score $115,000 for the BBA, which it plans to use for website development and engaging its more than 160 members through a better networking environment and “Welcome to Bayside” signs.
“This is going for helping us sustain our mission, which is growing the organization,” BBA President Ed Probst said. “We’ve kept our [membership] dues really, really economical, which is another reason the grant will help us operate.”
He pointed out that the group was working on making a Welcome to Bayside sign, but “we’re very preliminary with the locations.”
Probst said the board has discussed possible locations for the sign where the Cross Island Parkway and Northern Boulevard meet or somewhere along the town line of Francis Lewis Boulevard.
A kiosk in front of the BBA’s headquarters at the Long Island Rail Road station would also allow their members to put promotional material out for the community.
“As long as I have been an elected official, my office has always been in Bayside. People frequently come to Bayside to enjoy the great restaurants and shopping that is offered and I am thrilled to be able to help the Bayside Business Association in their endeavors to grow their membership and bring even more exciting opportunities to Bayside,” Avella said.
Limpert recently stepped aside as president of the BBA after nearly 20 years so that Probst could take the lead and is now serving as vice president.
In early March, the BBA held a town hall with Avella to discuss goals for the organization and business district. Limpert expressed the desire to fund a Welcome to Bayside sign as well as funds to dedicate trees to deceased members of the community.
The event space in the country club at Clearview Golf Course in March was filled by about 30 prominent members of the community, who discussed issues such as the lack of funds for organizations like the BBA in the state budget and funding initiatives for the community.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall